RACE to Dubai runner-up Ian Poulter hailed champion Henrik Stenson as the “best player on the planet” after his six shot victory at yesterday’s DP World Tour Championship brought the curtain down on a triumphant 2013 for the Swede.
Stenson, who won the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup in September, added the European Tour title to his collection by finishing off a final round of 64 at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course with a tap-in for eagle at the 18th.
The 37-year-old has the added satisfaction of winning a bet with Poulter that will see the Englishman act as his waiter for a night as well as hand over $100.
But Poulter graciously conceded he was beaten by a player, despite nursing a wrist injury, that is at the very top of his game.
“I have to take my hat off to him, he was unbelievable,” said Poulter. “I tried to run him down as hard as I could, but even with a sore wrist he has pressed on and I just could not get close enough.
“Henrik has not made a mistake all week and I just had to make sure of second place and some valuable Ryder Cup points.
“I have thrown a lot at him and given him so much stick, but he is the best player on the planet right now.”
Stenson admits it will be hard to top a year which has seen him rise from 61st to third in the world rankings, claim three Tour victories and score his best ever result at a Major– twice.
However, the chance to build on his second place finish at the Open and third at the PGA Championship to become the first ever male Swedish golfer to win a Major will be his motivation for 2014.
“It has been a dream season,” said Stenson. “I don’t know how I am going to be able to top this next year, but I am going to give my best in the Majors and that [winning] would be the icing on the cake.
“I am in desperate need of some rest now. I don’t want to jeopardise anything long-term, so I’m going to give it [wrist injury] some rest.”