sport

Stenson hopes for Open boost

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson is hoping to use this week’s Open as a springboard to kickstart his season, just as he did in 2013.

Stenson finished second in Muirfield and from there played a near-flawless second half of the season which saw him earn $13 million in prize money and jump from 53rd to No 3 in the world by the end of the year.

The 38-year-old admitted his form so far this year has not been as good as he would have liked but is confident he can play well at Hoylake.

"It hasn't been as good of a season as the last six months last year, but you can't expect to play like that all the time," Stenson said.

"It's been all right, some pretty consistent play coming into the championship.

\"It's all about hard work, putting yourself up there and hopefully your name will be on top or around the top of the leader board when you hit the back nine on Sunday."

Stenson will tee off with Argentinian Angel Cabrera and 14-time major Tiger Woods in a mouth-watering grouping on Thursday.

Playing with Woods, one of the most heavily-scrutinised athletes on the planet, can be an unwelcome distraction for some players but the laid-back Swede is unfazed by the prospect.

"I played a lot with him, it's sometimes a challenge with a lot of people inside the ropes and a lot of crowd moving," Stenson said.

"But it's big crowds here anyway, so I don't think you'll be noticing it as much."

Sweden have never produced a major winner in golf and Stenson continues to represent the country's best chance at becoming their first.

The former Ryder Cup star refuses to heap extra pressure himself and maintains he is focused solely on what has always been his highest personal goal - winning the British Open.

"I know that would be the case (but) for me it's more about winning a major," he said.

"If one of my Swedish colleagues can do it before me, all credit. I'm just looking at trying to get one for myself.

"I grew up watching this championship and it was a boyhood dream to play in the Ryder Cup and the other one was to win the British Open.

"Just because I've had some great success...that dream hasn't gone away. And it's the last thing on my CV to make it complete, more or less, in my eyes."