On the first day of fall, Henrik Stenson added the exclamation point to what has been a career-defining summer of golf.
His victory in Atlanta on Sunday earned Stenson the PGA Tour Championship title, as well as the FedEx Cup, to net $11.44 million in winnings. That's not too shabby for a player who was ranked out of the top 200 as recently as two years ago.
Henrik Stenson is your FedExCup champion. Stenson's last 8 worldwide starts: 6 top-3's (2 wins). About $15M in prize money earned in span.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) September 22, 2013
His incredible summer was highlighted by great play at each of the tournaments he entered. After tying for third at the Scottish Open, Stenson scored a second-place finish at both the Open Championship and the World Golf Championship. He then took third at the PGA Championship.
Winning the Deutsche Bank Championship over the Labor Day weekend solidified Stenson as a legitimate contender for the FedEx Cup. In Atlanta, he finished the job to become the first European to win both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup. The 37-year-old Swede shot a 13-under 267 to win the Tour Championship outright.
Here are a couple of things we can take away from Stenson's performance this summer.
Lightning Can Strike at Any Time
It doesn’t matter how long it takes. Eventually, every golfer can have his day.
That’s the beauty of Stenson's remarkable 2013 summer performance. After falling to No. 230 in the world rankings last year, he's now sitting firmly in the No. 4 spot, per Alan Shipnuck of Sports Illustrated.
Whether Stenson can turn his success this year into winning his first major championship next season remains to be seen. But that's not what matters now for Stenson or anyone who enjoyed the ride. Stenson and his fans should bask in the moment and appreciate his great performances.
Talent Doesn't Just Disappear
It's not like Stenson was never an accomplished golfer.
He had his success as a younger man on tour but could never quite break through with a signature performance until now, although he has yet to finish better than third at a major championship.
Before slumping in 2009 to start his latest drought, Stenson fell to No. 621 in the world rankings in 2003. He has proven to be a streaky golfer who goes through his share of ups and downs.
Stenson will either continue his great play into next season, or we won't hear from him for another two or three years. Stenson has the talent; we just don’t know when it will shine through.