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Golf Tidbits: Stenson gets paid, but remains hungry

2:51 PM, Nov 19, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Stenson became the first player to win the PGA Tour's FedExCup and the European Tour's Race to Dubai in the same season when he won the season-ending event on both tours.

In the final round on Sunday, Stenson stuffed a remarkable second shot within two feet and kicked that in for a closing eagle. That gave the Swede the tournament scoring record, which was just the icing on the cake.

His win in Dubai, coupled with his victory at the Tour Championship outside Atlanta, Ga., earned Stenson over $12 million combined. It took two sets of playoffs, but winning those titles sealed the huge payday.

Watching Stenson at the award ceremony in Dubai, the one thing that struck me was that the wins seemed to make him hungrier. He was asked about becoming the first male Swede to win a major championship.

"I don't know how I am going to be able to top this next year, but I am going to give my best in the majors and that would be the icing on the cake," Stenson admitted. "Everyone who has won the Race to Dubai has been World No. 1 at some point - Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy - so it wouldn't be fair not to try."

So, 20 minutes after the biggest win of his career on the European Tour, Stenson was laying out his plans for the following year. No time to rest on his laurels, he has two new goals he wants to reach.

By the way, he isn't very far from either.

After ending in third place at this year's PGA Championship, Stenson stood 10th in the world rankings, 8.25 average points behind Tiger Woods.

Fast forward to this week's rankings, Stenson has soared to No. 3 in the rankings and closed within 3.33 average points of Woods.

That climb happened because of two wins during the FedExCup Playoffs and a victory at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

The dirty little secret is that Stenson has been playing through a wrist injury the last few weeks. And it was that injury that caused him to withdraw from this week's South African Open Championship, where he was the defending champion.

Stenson has been fighting tendinitis in the wrist, dating back to the Tour Championship.

Despite that, he has collected seven worldwide top-7 finishes in the last five months. On top of the three wins, which have been mentioned, he also finished second at the British Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Along with the second-place finish at the British Open, and he also took third at the PGA Championship.

What did he say about winning a major?

THOMPSON CONTINUES HER CLIMB

There are few sports where teenagers can be dominant. Golf, especially women's golf, is one of them.

A quick glimpse at the top 10 in the women's world golf rankings and you'll see there are as many teenagers -- two -- as 30-somethings.

The second of those two teens is Lexi Thompson. The 18-year-old closed with a 3-under 69 on Sunday to fend off world No. 3 Stacy Lewis and win for the second time in 2013.

Thompson entered the top 10 in the rankings for the first time on the heels of that victory.

She has seven top-10 finishes on the season, four of which have come in her last six starts. Thompson is way behind Lewis' tour lead of 18 top-10 finishes, but this is just her second full year on tour.

Thompson has earned nearly $1.2 million this season and raised her career earnings to almost $2.2 million in two full seasons and part of two other years on tour.

I think most 18-year-olds would like to have her bank account, and her talent.

MINI-TIDBITS

* Golfers can be looked at as spoiled and pampered, but they deal with real- life issues like all of us. Jason Day will represent Australia this week in the World Cup of Golf a little over a week after losing his grandmother and at least seven other relatives in typhoon Haiyan. He was in tears speaking about his families loss on Monday.

* Inbee Park's 10th top-10 finish of the year over the weekend wrapped up LPGA Tour Player of the Year honors. She had six wins, including three in majors, this season and those victories helped her become the first Korean to ever earn LPGA Tour Player of the Year honors.

The Sports Network

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