June 13, 2017: There aren’t many better equipped to face ‘one of the toughest mental tests you are going to encounter’ than Henrik Stenson. The Open Champion will look to use every ounce of experience he has garnered during his outstanding career to tackle the year’s second Major as the world’s best descend upon Erin Hills for the 117th US Open Championship.
‘Experience’, ‘patience’ and ‘stress-free’ will be three of the most commonly used words in golf over the next few days of build-up to the tournament. It’s now a tradition at the US Open, built upon the USGA’s reputation for testing the game’s best to the very limit with tough course set-ups.
Stenson has played in enough of them (ten to be precise) to know what’s coming this week. He’s also played enough of them to know he has the game to take one home if he performs to his very best (and keeps taking the antihistamines to stave away his dreadful hay fever).
“It’s one of the toughest mental tests that you’re going to encounter out there” – Henrik Stenson.
As the Open Champion, it goes without saying that Stenson will be among Europe’s leading contenders at Erin Hills. Another man in the spotlight will be Jon Rahm, the young Spaniard who has rampaged his way to the top of the professional game in the past 12 months.
Indeed, throw it back a year and Jon Rahm was an amateur in the 2016 US Open at Oakmont. Yes, people in the golf world knew about the ‘Spanish kid’ at Arizona State University. They knew he had potential; but they didn’t back him to win the US Open silver medal for leading amateur before embarking on a journey which has taken him to the very pinnacle of the game.
Rahm has since turned professional, won on the US PGA Tour and took World Number One Dustin Johnson all the way in the final of the WGC – Dell Match Play as he burst into the top ten of the Official World Golf Ranking.