Stenson wants to be like Padraig

By Brian Keogh

Ice-man Henrik Stenson says he needs to be more like fighting Irishman Padraig Harrington.

The Swedish ace had his best ever season this year, beating off Ernie Els and Tiger Woods in the Dubai Desert Classic to go to world No 10 and then taking the WGC-Accenture Match Play in his next start.

But he confessed that his mid-season slump got him down and he needs to take a leaf out of Harrington’s book and get going when the going gets tough.

He said: “It has been an interesting year on and off the course. Building a house and then the birth of our first little one.

“I playing on both side of the Atlantic as well and I played great sometimes and other times, not so great. So there have been ups and downs. Overall it is still my best year with the two victories but he consistency wasn’t what I would have liked it to be.

“But it’s all about winning and in ‘05 I had a great year but I didn’t win any tournaments. If Padraig had done nothing this year except the Open it would still have been a great year. It is the wins that count and I had the best year of my career this year.

“Padraig has been great. He never gives up and he’s got a great attitude when he is playing. That is one thing I would like to do throughout the season - keep fighting all the time. When I was playing bad and things weren’t going the way I wanted, I got a bit low instead.”

Unlike Harrington, Stenson has decided not to retain his PGA Tour card next year so he will be better prepared for the major events.

He said: “I am just going to play around 10 events over here next year. The big ones, obviously, as well as the Mercedes in Hawaii and the TPC at Sawgrass

“The Ryder Cup is part of the reason why I am going to concentrate on Europe againr. It was great being a part of that team at the K Club and I will try my best to be on that team.

“I also want to be more prepared for events this year. I played 30 events and 31 last year so I will try to cut down to 25 and spend a bit more time with the family as well.”

Woods is his inspiration in that department and he is not surprised that the world No 1 is not committing himself to the 2009 Dubai World Championship just yet.

He added: “Tiger wants to play fewer events so he is ready to perform. When you look at what he has done, you can’t second guess that theory