Golf

Published: Wednesday January 22, 2014 MYT 12:12:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday January 22, 2014 MYT 12:18:58 AM

Stenson eyes Tiger's top ranking

World No.3 Henrik Stenson of Sweden, seen here in the Abu Dhabi championship last week, had a stellar 2013 and is now aiming for the No.1 spot currently held by Tiger Woods. - AFP

World No.3 Henrik Stenson of Sweden, seen here in the Abu Dhabi championship last week, had a stellar 2013 and is now aiming for the No.1 spot currently held by Tiger Woods. - AFP

DOHA (AFP): Henrik Stenson swelled his bank balance by more than $20 million (15 million euros) last season, won a string of awards and leapt to number three in the world rankings.

Now, he has the small matter of becoming the world number one for the first time in his sights.

At his press conference on Tuesday the cool Swede made no secret about his ambition to become the top-ranked player, saying it would be a "nice thing" if that happens.

"I think I'm in a position in the world rankings that if I really keep on playing well, I will have a chance to possibly, first, overtake Adam (Scott) and then maybe challenge Tiger (Woods) for the number one spot," Stenson said ahead of the Qatar Masters beginning Wednesday.

"I'm trying to focus on my stuff and then we'll see how far it takes us.

"But the chance is obviously there and it would be a nice thing to have on the C.V. when we put the clubs in the closet one day - that we've held the number one spot at some time, and if that doesn't happen, I would be happy to go for number two as of now."

Stenson, however, understands the perils of obsessing about the world number one spot, saying things always don't go according to plan.

"One part is down to what I do. If I can keep my form going and playing good golf, and it's those elements that we can't control what the other guys are doing, and might even be somebody from behind going on a really hot streak and overtaking everybody."

Stenson, who won the Qatar Masters in 2006 and has finished in second position thrice, considers the Doha Golf Club course a "good hunting ground" and is determined to make the most of his experience, this being his 14th appearance in the event.

After missing the cut in Abu Dhabi last week, Stenson feels he is getting his confidence back.

"The game's heading in the right direction for sure. It was a bit rusty last week, and I'd say today was as good as I've hit it this side of Christmas, anyway.

"So yeah, I'm looking forward to the week. I'm sure it's going to be fairly similar to what we had here in previous years with a bit of wind, and I think the course is in good condition where the trick is always to keep the ball below the hole on the greens, because downhill, downwind and downgrain, they are lightning and uphill you can be aggressive."

Two PGA Tour victories in September last year earned Stenson the FedEx Cup, before he secured the Race to Dubai by winning The European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in November.

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