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Henrik Stenson promises to skydive with the Claret Jug if he defends title

Henrik Stenson became Sweden's first male major champion at Royal Troon
Henrik Stenson became Sweden's first male major champion at Royal Troon

Open champion Henrik Stenson has promised to take the Claret Jug skydiving if he successfully defends the title at Royal Birkdale.

The Gothenburg golfer edged out Phil Mickelson in a memorable final round at Troon 12 months ago to claim his maiden major.

The 41-year-old took the famous trophy jet-skiing to celebrate last year’s success but has much loftier ambitions if he gets the Claret Jug back in his possession.

He said: “It’s an iconic trophy and bringing it around the world gave me many memorable moments.

“The jet-ski was probably the goofiest and most fun we’ve had with it.

“I’ve made an official promise that if I ever win the Claret Jug again, I’m going skydiving with it.

“And I don’t know which is going to be harder, winning the Claret Jug again or going skydiving afterwards because that thought scares me a little bit. It won’t stop me from trying to win it, though.”

The Swede finished tied 28th at Dundonald Links and believes playing in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open remains the best way to warm-up for this week’s major.

He said: “It is a big benefit.

“Looking at my last four Open championships before this one, I went and played the Scottish Open twice, and finished second and first at the Open.

“And the two times I didn’t go I finished around 40th.

“I think it’s crucial to play the week before a major and to play links golf because it gets me into the right mindset.

“It is a bit of a different game. It would be like a tennis player coming from clay and going straight into Wimbledon; you wouldn’t do that.

“It’s certainly a benefit to play the week before, when that’s possible.”

While Stenson would love to etch his name onto the Claret Jug for a second time, the Swede insists he is putting himself under minimal pressure to defend the trophy.

He added: “I never felt it was a big problem not having won a major, even though I badly wanted to win one.

“I never walked around feeling like I was one of the guys on that list that are potentially the best players not to have won a major. I didn’t really feel part of that.
“Once you win one, obviously that’s off your shoulder and it becomes about putting yourself in contention to win a second one.

“More than anything I want to be able to enjoy being out there.

“I worked hard my whole career to be able to win that championship last year and I can’t really put the pressure on myself that I’m going to win it again.

“It took a lot of chances to win that one so I’m just going to go out there and do my best.”​

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