Sat, Mar 14, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Stenson's Swedish strip show overshadows Woods

AGENCIES , MIAMI

Henrik Stenson of Sweden plays his second shot from deep mud at the third hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships-CA Championship on Thursday at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami.

PHOTO: AFP

Tiger Woods returned to stroke play competition at the WGC-CA Championship on Thursday, but he was upstaged by Henrik Stenson. The Swede briefly took the limelight from the golfing superstar when he stripped down to his underwear to play a shot.

Stenson’s wayward drive on the third hole landed in muddy terrain near a water hazard and he decided to get down to basics rather than play the rest of his round in muddy clothes.

“I was only wearing two things when I hit the shot, my jocks and my golf glove,” he told reporters. “Shirt, trousers, socks, shoes, hat, the lot was off.”

“Obviously, playing in Florida I didn’t have any rain gear in the bag, so that option went out of the window and I felt that if I could hack it out, I could secure a five and that is what I did,” Stenson said.

“Because of the mud I couldn’t really afford to play in any of my clothes as they would have been a real mess down the last six or so holes so I had no option.”

Stenson said he had no regrets about his unorthodox approach.

“I felt that I would definitely save a shot by actually playing the ball. If you are saving a shot, that has to be worth taking your shirt and trousers off,” he said.

But the 32-year-old said he was expecting some ribbing.

“I’m sure I’ll hear a few comments and once the pictures get out I’ll hear a few more no doubt,” he said.

“You never know, I might have a new endorsement with Playgirl or something like that,” Stenson said.

While Woods struggled to buy a putt in a steady one-under-par 71, South African Retief Goosen and Phil Mickelson of the US went six strokes better to share the first-round lead with Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng.

“It was a little bit frustrating on those greens today,” said Woods, who is contesting his first stroke play event since undergoing major knee surgery in June.

“I hit so many putts that looked good but they just didn’t go in. It’s not like I was playing poorly or struggling all the way around,” he said.

“I need to be just a touch sharper. I hit the ball well all day. If a few putts went in, [the] score would have been totally different,” he said.

Mickelson showed one way to avoid putting altogether, chipping in three times, including at the final two holes.

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