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 RICHARD SIMMONS
 Editor
 Golf International

All about being the best...

And we thought the timing of Pete Cowen’s ‘Signature Drills’ instruction piece last issue was something of a coup!

The invitation to spend some time with the newly-crowned FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson at his Orlando home, Lake Nona, and shoot the sequences that grace our cover (and multiple pages inside this issue) was what the more astute in the business would recognise as a ‘no brainer’. Gi faithful Matthew Harris duly obliged – as did the weather – and the result is a stunning collection of images students of the game will find themselves drooling over to pass away the long winter evenings. Out on the range, Stenson was up-beat and relaxed, true to his reputation: a pro.

Given this took place just a week or so after his performance in Atlanta, his swing was in sizzling nick – it couldn’t really get any better, could it. Well, er, yes, it could, as it turned out. Not content with taking home the lion’s share of the FedEx jackpot, Stenson turned his attention to the European Tour and the Final Series that culminated in the DP World Championship, Dubai. The tournament layout here, the Earth Course, one of two at the Jumeirah Estates, is a Greg Norman design measuring in excess of 7,600 yards.

In other words, it ain’t no pushover. Ian Poulter produced ‘about the best golf I have played all year’ and finished second, six shots off the pace. After stalling for much of the season, Rory McIlroy found a couple of new forward gears and signed off with a 67 and a 15-under-par total. He finished 10 back. US Open champion Justin Rose, who could have won the Series with victory in Dubai, was 12 shots adrift, while Victor Dubuisson, the young French star fresh from victory in the Turkish Airlines Open would ultimately finished in third – and happy just to play alongside Stenson in the final group, where he would witness the unrelenting quality of every department of the Swede’s game as he fired a closing 64 for a 25-under-par total.

“Henrik’s ball striking is as good as I’ve seen – and I’m including Tiger in his prime in that,” said Luke Donald.

As for the analysis of the swing that has rocked the world of golf, Coach Cowen is only half joking when he says there is still room for improvement. ‘The road to success is always under construction’ he explained, looking at the images on his iPad while holiday a couple of weeks later (yep, you guessed it – in Dubai). Without a hint of irony. Stenson has banked somewhere in the region of $20 million in the last couple of months, and yet his position at the top is costing him? “I’m nit-picking,” says the man credited with modelling one of the most athletic, powerful movements in the business, “but in an ideal world, looking down the line I’d like to see that right elbow a fraction closer to the body at the top. On the other end of the phone, Cowen detects my expression. “Hey, this isn’t Strictly,’ he says. “I’m not Len Goodman and I don’t give 10s.’

You be the judge. The Henrik Stenson sequences begin on page 56, while Cowen himself demonstrates a couple of further drills designed to reinforce the thoughts and sensations you need to experience in order to develop a better and more reliable body action – the engine that drives every sound golf swing. It’s world-class instruction from two world-class figures in golf.

One final item of housekeeping: our 2014 Survey is bound within this issue, and I urge you to help us by taking a few minutes to consider all of the elements within Gi and give us your feedback. Doing so will enable us to focus on producing an even better golf magazine in 2014 and beyond – plus there’s the opportunity to win one of three fabulous prizes on offer.

From the team at Gi, our best wishes for the holiday season!

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 






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