The Masters: Henrik Stenson aiming for best Augusta performance to date
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 08/04/14 7:05pm
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Henrik Stenson admits both his Masters record and current form are not what he'd like, but insists he can put in his best Augusta performance yet.
The 38-year-old became the first man to claim the FedEx Cup in America and the European Tour's Race To Dubai in the same season last year, but the exertions of that remarkable season took their toll on the Swede.
Stenson has not be able to replicate his late-season form of last year so far in 2014, and he admits it is a difficult situation trying to improve as well as recover from such a strenuous schedule.
"That's definitely been a challenge and a little bit Catch-22," Stenson said. "You're not rested and you're not really where you want to be with the game, so you're trying to practice and move forward in that department. But then at the same time, you need rest.
"But I feel a bit fresher. Last month with staying more at home and playing a home tournament in Orlando and so on, it feels like I've got a little bit more energy back."
While Stenson has come close to landing both the Open and the USPGA Championship on a few occasions, a tie for 17th is his best result in the Masters from eight attempts, and he thinks he can do much better this year as Augusta National is suited to his game.
"I think that's why I keep coming back and then feeling like I should do better," he added. "Because it's a golf course I think that fits my game if I'm playing well.
"I don't feel like I've been here firing on all cylinders, really. The first couple of times you're here more to learn than maybe challenge for the best finishes.
"In 2009 I played really well but I putted poorly on the Saturday and that kind of put me out of the mix completely. But then I said to some of the Swedish media I feel like something good is around the corner anyway the way I'm playing and the Players Championship (victory) came about a couple of months later.
"A couple of years ago I was in the mix as well but I wasn't playing that good tee-to-green. But hopefully we learn from a couple of bad rounds and I can have my best Masters to date this year."
Stenson, defending champion Adam Scott and fellow Australian Jason Day all have the chance to become the new world No 1 this week in the absence of the injured Tiger Woods.
He would need a joint second place this week to rise to the top of the rankings, but he insists becoming the first Swede to win a major is a much bigger focus.
"If I have a chance to win, I'll be just focusing on that," he added. "The other thing would be a nice bonus that comes with it. I'm more concerned about winning tournaments than setting new records for myself on the rankings.
"But of course, when I pack up the clubs one day, to have been ranked No 1 in the world at some point, I guess it has a nice tone to it. I could live with that."
Keep up to date with all the action from all four days of the Masters starting at 7.00pm this Thursday on Sky Sports 4