Henrik Stenson started his warm-up regimen two weeks ago, right before his first round at the LIV Golf Invitational Boston. He cocked his head forward and peered down, but something didn’t seem right as he took a swing. A few seconds later, and…

“The whole world began to spin,” Stenson recounted.

He realized what was going on right away. It was vertigo, something he had experienced on occasion but not lately. Someone found him a chair and set it in a shaded spot, where he sat. But he was unable to participate. Stenson was forced to withdraw, which was a letdown after winning the previous tournament at Bedminster in his LIV Golf debut.

The Swedish sensation is back and ready to play in the opening round of the LIV Golf Invitational Chicago on Friday. He’s not completely recovered, but he’s getting there, and he hopes to prevent a repetition at Rich Harvest Farms.

“We’re a lot better,” he remarked before walking out for a practice round on Thursday. “I’ve got vertigo in the past, a few times here and there throughout the years.” It was as if I didn’t know what was going on when I received it, but it’s been 8-10 years since the previous time.

“It’s something we want to avoid, but it has occurred before.” You just have to cope with it. It took a few days to get back to normal. I feel like we’re wrong by 1 to 2% every now and again, but overall, we should be OK.”

Stenson described his vertigo as a “positional issue” with his head.

“I participated in another competition 15 years ago,” he said. “I couldn’t putt because I couldn’t see down, but I could hit.” I was playing fairly well, but all I had to do was line up, move in swiftly, hit the putt, and get out of that situation. When it happens, it’s not ideal.”

He’s not on any medicine, although he did have a doctor on-site this week to check on him. To assist enhance his balance, the only preventative treatments are particular workouts that target the neck and ear.

Meanwhile, he’s heard several accounts from people who have struggled with vertigo.

“It’s really rather amusing,” he remarked. “After I had that and had to pull out, a lot of people told me, ‘Oh, I’ve had experience with that,’ or ‘Oh, I’ve had problems with that.’ I wouldn’t call it frequent, but it’s also not completely rare. Anyone who has it understands what we’re dealing with and understands that playing golf was not an option.”


That was really one of my top performances I’d say throughout my career, mentally and how I went about things

Stenson’s main task this week, assuming no injuries, will be to regain the concentration and drive he shown at Bedminster.

He had been deprived of his responsibilities as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain when he joined that competition. It had been a trying time for Stenson, who had been dragged into a scandal that went well beyond his own interests. But he took advantage of the circumstance, playing with a chip on his shoulder. I’m experimenting with something to see what happens.

He started with a 7-under 64 to share the first-round lead, then closed with back-to-back 69s to win by two strokes over Matthew Wolff and Dustin Johnson. Meanwhile, his Majesticks GC finished second in the team category, their best result in the first four LIV Golf tournaments.

“A lot of it came down to my concentration, drive, and that additional incentive,” Stenson said of his performance in New York. “I’d say it was one of my greatest performances in my career, both psychologically and in how I approached things that week.”

“Obviously, I had the game to back it up, and the first round was arguably my best in the previous five years.” The following two rounds over the weekend weren’t the most beautiful, but we still hit a lot of excellent strokes, made some amazing putts, and kept it neat.

“That’s a championship golf course.” Just going 2-under, 2-under on Saturday and Sunday, and given my strong start, it was enough to hold the other players at bay, considering how difficult it is to score low on that golf course.”

After proving his argument, he realizes that getting additional motivating gear would be more difficult in Chicago.

“I don’t particularly see it as something you can bring every week,” said Stenson, who participated in a LIV to Give clinic involving people with special needs earlier this week. “If it was that simple to put it on, I’m sure a lot more players would do it on a daily basis.” It always seems to be a matter of “keep working on the game.” Except for the vertigo, I feel like I’ve been doing well physically. We’ve been in really excellent physical and game form at 46. Even if I put my game together, I believe I can compete with the greatest players.

“It’s almost as though the more people who say you can’t, the more determined I am to prove them wrong.” I believe we demonstrated this in New York. We’ll strive to emphasize that more.”

Stenson clearly believes that his game is improving. The Bedminster victory was not an exception, but rather indication that his hard work is paying off. With just four events remaining in the 2022 debut season (including the team championship decider), Stenson is keen to make a significant push.

“I’m hoping we can end the year strong,” he remarked. “Then, I think, for the first time in 17 years, I’m looking forward to having an off-season.” Make an effort to prepare. Get strong in the gym and get hungry and ready for next year’s extended break into the ’23 season. You really want to go out there and play when it’s time to kick off that. That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most.”

That, and the ability to tilt his head without tossing the planet off its axis.

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