Golf-Stenson joins chorus of disapproval over revamped 18th

Fri, 21 May 15:43:00 2010

Henrik Stenson, who last year won the tournament dubbed the unofficial fifth major, has joined the growing chorus of disapproval over the revamped 18th hole at Wentworth's West Course.

The 34-year-old Swede, hovering around the projected cut mark at the PGA Championship, had to risk all and go for the green in two at the treacherous par-five last on Friday.

Stenson drove into a bunker and then hit a majestic 240-yard five-wood before two-putting from 18 feet for his birdie four.

"I had no choice," he told Reuters after a second-round 71 gave him a two-over total of 144. "When I got a pretty clean lie in the bunker there was no doubt in my mind.

"I enjoy that shot but I'm not overly fond of the changes on the 18th and it definitely needs a bit of tweaking."

With a new moat ready to gobble up anything that lands short of an elevated green, most players are taking a safety-first approach by laying up in two.

World number three Lee Westwood was among those critical of the new-look 18th on Thursday and Stenson feels much the same.

"I would have liked to see the green not quite as raised to give the players a little bit more room," said Stenson who has dropped to 21st in the world after being in the top 10 following his 2009 Players Championship victory in Florida.

"There's no margin for error. If you bail out short of the green it should be a hardship but some of the bunkers just leave you completely dead.

"I think it will be re-evaluated at the end of the week but it's pushing too many players to lay up," added the tall Swede, resplendent in white tee shirt and loud, green-checked trousers.


"It's fine to have a creak or something on the last hole but if you stay dry I think you still need to have some sort of shot left."

Stenson is without a title since his Sawgrass triumph and has struggled this season, with two eighth-place finishes representing a poor return for someone blessed with so much natural talent.

"My confidence is quite low," said the Ryder Cup stalwart. "I've been struggling with my swing in general for quite some time but my short game is pretty good and my putting is okay too.

"I feel like I've been playing pretty average for some time and I have some things to sort out. Of course I get frustrated.

"I know I can perform and play so much better and it's just not happening. I've got to work a little harder and stay patient and look to put it all together."

Stenson, a winner of six European Tour events, said he was finding it tough mentally to keep on an even keel.

"It's a combination of things of course," he said. "Once you hit it bad and you don't feel good about it, every bad shot gets to you more than it does when you're in good form.

"It's a bit of a battle at the moment and I just have to hope I get through it."

(Editing by Ken Ferris; To query or comment on this story email


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