World ranking (current/end of year)
Current 2020 Stats
FedEx Cup Rank: 197th
Top 10: 0
Top 25: 1
Made Cut: 1
Off-The-Tee: 231st (2019: 163rd, 2018: 26th, 2017: 81st)
Approach: 7th (2019: 1st, 2018: 1st, 2017: 4th)
Around The Green: 176th (2019: 106th, 2018: 113th, 2017: 167th)
Putting: 204th (2019: 71st, 2018: 157th, 2017: 10th)
Tee-To-Green: 157th (2019: 22nd, 2018: 5th, 2017: 33rd)
Total: 196th (2019: 20th, 2018: 14th, 2017: 11th)
The slow decline of his world rankings suggests he’s a diminishing force at the top level and, whilst his fitness problems have undoubtedly impacted on his performance week in-week out, his major championship effort have not been too bad in this period (see below). Moreover, although he’s made just three starts this season, and five in Europe and Asia during the same period, with none of the eight reaping a top 15, he did claim a fine success in the Hero World Challenge, reiterating that his best game is very, very good. But the nasty decline in all his stats (bar his always-stellar Approach work) would have to be a worry.
Grade so far: C-
Dubai Desert Classic (on the Hero win): “Winning is never getting old. A key thing for me was that a lot of my wins, I feel like I've played really, really well, and in the Bahamas, I didn't feel like I played as well as I've done with some of my other wins. So to beat those guys when you still feel like you have a little bit extra, if everything is working, that was certainly a boost, as well.”
Dubai Desert Classic (on age): “The golf course doesn't know if you're 20, 30 or 40 when you're teeing it up, right? It's all about bringing as good of a game as you can do, and we know experience is a good part in this game.”
Saudi International (on his game): “Still a struggle off the tee.”
THE MAJORS (most recent results on the left)
The Masters: 36-5-MC-24-19-14-18-40-MC-MC-38-17-17-MC
Seven top 25s in 14 starts, but just the one top ten backs up the widely held notion that his long game fits the Augusta National test, but his short game struggles with it. Indeed, in the period 2013-2016, when he notched four top 25s in a row, he ranked top seven for Ball-Striking every time, but never better than 37th for Total Putting.
PGA Championship: 48-MC-13-7-25-3-3-MC-6-4-MC-14-47
An interesting contrast with his Masters record. This time he has one more top 25 (eight) in one less start (13). And that’s far from the only improvement because five of the eight top 25s are T7 or better. To win a major you really need to be in the top six with 18 holes to play and he’s given himself that chance five times.
U.S. Open: 9-6-MC-WD-27-4-21-23-29-9-MC-MC-26
Famine or feast – well, maybe not quite feast. Every time he’s made the weekend Stenson has ticked off a top 30, but five times he failed to breach the top 20. Admittedly there are four top tens (and two in the last two years), but he’s only twice been top six with 18 holes to play. That inability to force himself into genuine contention must have been especially frustrating in recent times because in five of his last seven starts (and six of his last eight) he has been in the top ten after 18 holes. It’s a consistent, and very fine, tournament record, but thus far lacks a real highlight.
Open Championship: 20-35-11-1-40-39-2-68-3-13-3-MC-48-34-MC
The major he is most experienced in (15 starts), most consistent at (he’s made the last 11 cuts) and where he’s tasted success (four top three finishes including that magnificent triumph in 2016). His long game was magnificent in 2016 (first for Ball-Striking, Total Driving, second for Total Accuracy) and very close to it on defense (ranking second for those categories). The difference? He ranked third for Total Putting in his win (the only time in his entire major career he made the top ten for that category) and 16th a year later when T11.