PARIS (Reuters) - European stalwart Henrik Stenson is confident his elbow can withstand the rigours of this weekend’s Ryder Cup despite admitting he is not completely recovered from injury.
The 42-year-old Swede, one of captain Thomas Bjorn’s picks, has played a lighter schedule this year to protect his elbow and has not posted a top-10 finish since the U.S. Open.
“It’s been dragging on a bit, but for the most part I’ve been fit enough to play competitive golf,” he told reporters.
“It’s been probably more a hindrance in the gym and not being able to do certain things and having to watch that a bit.
“We hope that it’s going to be completely gone there in a while, and yeah, we’re just managing it, and it doesn’t really affect my golfing capabilities at this point.”
Stenson has been a key component in Europe’s last two Ryder Cup teams, playing a maximum five matches during the defeat at Hazeltine in 2016 and four in 2014 — almost exclusively playing alongside England’s Justin Rose.
He suggested, however, that he could take on a lighter load this time.
“How much we play and so forth, we’ve got a very strong and deep team,” he said.
“I think there’s a possibility of playing potentially a bit less than previous matches, but we’ll see. It’s still early doors, and we’ll see what the pairings are going to be like.”
After being part of the team that fell 4-0 behind after the opening fourballs at Hazeltine, a deficit that proved fatal to their chances, Stenson said Friday’s opening matches were vital.
“Both teams wants to get off to a quick start and kind of get a grip on things early,” he said.
“We had a poor opening session in Hazeltine, to say the least, but then we kind of battled back from there on.
“So it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s done and over with just because you have a good opening session, but it certainly sets the tone, and in any sport, you don’t want to let the opposition get a good start and get a grip early on.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond