Henrik Stenson downbeat about defending Open title

Rufina Vignone
Luglio 17, 2017

He said his ball-striking hasn't been good for the last 18 months, apart from during a two-month stretch in the summer of 2016 when he won the BMW International Open in Germany followed by the Open Championship three weeks later.

Henrik Stenson will get his title defence under way at 9:47am in the same group as two-time major victor Jordan Spieth and South Korea's Si Woo Kim, who won the Players Championship at Sawgrass in May.

Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Paul Casey will play together and Thursday's first group - out at 1:35 a.m. ET - is Mark O'Meara, the Open champion at Birkdale 19 years ago, Chris Wood and Ryan Moore.

Henrik Stenson has cast doubt on the chances of him retaining his Open Championship title at Royal Birkdale next week. "Maybe we can turn things around a little bit but I'm looking forward to the week regardless".

"I think that's going to be the most important thing coming into an event like that, not feeling that you're playing anywhere near 100 percent", he added.

After discussing his time as the Champion Golfer of the Year, the charismatic Swede was driven to the famous Southport links to prepare to defend his title.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia will be joined by Jason Day and Zach Johnson, the 2015 champion.

Kim Si-woo of South Korea will go out with Stenson and Spieth, while U.S. Open victor Brooks Koepka is playing with local favorite Tommy Fleetwood and world No. 2 Hideki Matsuyama.

Irish Open victor Jon Rahm has been paired with Patrick Reed and Lee Westwood at 2:59pm, with 2013 champion Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari and Marc Leishman in the group behind.

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