Notice to all world-class professional golfers:
When you go to China or Japan, be careful of all the stupid stuff that tournament promoters might come up with.
Henrik Stenson should have heeded that warning two weeks ago when he went to China to compete in the HSBC.
Oh those silly Chinese.
Someone came up with the brilliant idea that they should find some golfers, dress them up like Superheroes, hoist them into the air and have them hover over defending champion Hideki Matsuyama while he cowered in fear over the tournament trophy.
Stennie didn’t really want to do it but after some arm-twisting, he donned a silly suit, got harnessed in and let them hoist him into the air for this pre-tournament publicity nonsense where all the photogs click away and laugh to themselves in the process.
“I’m not Superman even though certain people think I was Superman,” Stenson would later say of his reluctance to participate in such nonsense.
As it turned out, Stennie suffered some sort of trauma to his rib cage and now he’s out of the race to Dubai. After last week’s Turkish Airlines Open, Stennie announced he won’t be able to play at this week’s Nedbank or the DP World finale in Dubai. Gonna cost him some serious jack.
Stennie let his people know afterward that he was annoyed about being arm-twisted into the silly photo shoot. Some other prominent players flat-out said “no.”
They did manage to get Dustin Johnson and Haotong Li. No one cares about Haotong Li but D.J., with his injury record, probably should have politely declined as well, but didn’t.
Stenson’s scheduled appearance in Tiger Woods’ lucrative 16-man deal down in the Bahamas is in jeopardy as well.
More money down the drain.
Stennie’s probably back at Lake Nona cursing in Swedish while his wife makes dinner reservations.
In the meantime, the Race To Dubai goes on without him.
This week’s next-to-last event is the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City Center at the Gary Player Golf Club, designed by, of course, The Black Knight.
Justin Rose is taking the week off after chalking up back-to-back wins and letting points leader Tommy Fleetwood know that this contest isn’t over and will be determined in Dubai.
You know those two wins by Rose got Tommy’s attention in a hurry.
Fleetwood is playing this week and will be paired the first two rounds with defending champion Alex Noren, who put his foot down on the rest of the field last year and won by six.
Rose isn’t the only star off this week. No. 3 Sergio Garcia is taking a pass as is No. 4 Jon Rahm.
They’re all resting up for the big one next week in Dubai.
In the meantime, back outside Orlando, Henrik Stenson’s wife is probably asking him what the hell he was thinking when he let the backstage workers from the Cirque du Soleil hoist him up in the air.
Not sure that Stennie has any sort of comeback for that.
Editor’s Note: Henrik tried to do some back-peddling this week, after throwing out some blame, saying maybe no one was to blame (yeah, sure). He also left the door open to possibly play in two weeks in Dubai but noted only if he’s “100 percent.” He was having MRIs and all that good stuff this week back home in Orlando. So stay tuned on this one.