"During those early days Henrik would do what I wanted him to do with great determination, more than anyone I have ever met". - Pete Cowen (Henrik Stenson's swing coach)
Well if you have been following our articles (Dr. Jay-Lee Longbotttom's on 15/08/2013 and mine on 17/09/2013) they indicated that Stenson was in a great place with his game, and mentally in the optimal performance zone to do something very special.
But it wasn't like that in 2001 and 2010 when Stenson suffered set backs in his career and went into deep slumps that would have destroyed most golfers.
The 1st slump in 2001 was caused by a technical issue and he lost all confidence to the point that he suffered the "Yips' with his driver and had no idea where his ball would go.
In one tournament his dispersion between tee shots on the 1st hole on Thursday and Friday was so erratic it was measured at close to 400 meters! That is shots going left and right (not in length) and he walked off the course as a result so as not to disrupt his playing partners.
Teaming up with swing coach Pete Cowen was the start of a long term relationship that survives to this day. In Pete Cowen's words;
"During those early days Henrik would do what I wanted him to do with great determination, more than anyone I have ever met".
"I knew what we needed to do, what we had to sort out.
People who end up in a chaotic and confused situation need to work with someone that can help them get back to where they want to go.
Henrik had a lot of problems in 2011 and we had to start with what I call ‘the five processes.’ The first process is physical, the second is mental, the third is technical, the fourth is the strategic and tactical one and the fifth is the social process.
All five are very important – you can be off with one of them but there is no way you can be off with two. If you have control of the five processes like he has right now you can achieve anything".
The second slump in 2010 which lasted nearly two years has been attributed to what happened off the course.
At the end of 2009 Stenson signed a three year sponsorship deal with Stanford Financial Group. Soon after this Stenson transferred most of his savings (reported to be well into seven figures) into the Stanfords Bank - Saving Investment Account on the advice of founder Sir Allen Stanford.
Within months of doing so Allen Stanford was charged with US $8 billion fraud, and Henrik's investment was now worth nothing.
His golf game went into a severe nose dive spiraling out of control, and his World Golf Ranking slipped from 4th to 264th - a massive drop in any ones terms.
It doesn't matter who you are, if there's illness, injury or upheaval in their personal life, it will rock and shake a players confidence and outlook on their career.
Again he came back from the brink and overcame the 2nd major slump in his career with the help of his mental coach and also the help of his team, he has people that he can trust.
Very impressive indeed.
But even during this golden period Stenson at the BMW at Conway Farms had a 'brain snap' and broke a club on the course and also destroyed a locker in the clubhouse, which he later apologized and paid for.
For him to compose himself the next week and open up with a 64 in the 1st round on Thursday playing with Tiger is a testament of his ability to refocus and produce winning golf.
How long can this last is anybody's guess, but the "golfing gods" seldom hand out periods like Henrik Stenson is experiencing at the moment, and they can take it away in a blink of an eye.
So the real question is can Henrik Stenson keep it going and win a major next year and be the 1st male Swede to accomplish it.
One thing is for sure, we will all be keeping an eye on him to see if he can.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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