Written by
Joy Chakravarty
Sep 21 2023
Majesticks in Chicago

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. ­– Fairways hit has become a slightly over-rated stat category in these days of modern, power golf, but on a drenched Rich Harvest Farms course, it may turn out to be pure gold.

That should bring to the forefront Majesticks GC’s Co-Captain Henrik Stenson, who has hit more fairways this season of LIV Golf than anyone else. The Swede leads the stat at 74.29%, having kept the ball in the short grass on 341 of possible 459 par-4s and par-5s.

“We played nine holes today, the front nine of the course and are playing the back nine during the ProAm tomorrow. Of course, it helps that we were at the same course last year,” said Stenson, who won on his LIV Golf debut last year at Bedminster.

“The course is in good condition, but it is pretty wet. They have had some heavy rain over the weekend and early part of the week, so there’s not much run on the fairways. It’s all going to be carry off the tee for the most part,” said Stenson.

“Rough seems to be extremely juicy as well. So, a lot of fairways and greens would help. I think that’s obviously something that works pretty much every week, but it’s going to be critical this week.

“The green complexes at Rich Harvest have a lot of undulation, so it’s important to keep the ball underneath the hole and try and get in the right section of the greens. It’s not just about hitting the greens in regulation but about choosing the right spot on the green and hitting it there.”

The team welcomes back Sam Horsfield, who missed the last seven tournaments after a hip injury required surgical intervention and kept him out since Adelaide.

“With Sam back, he seems to be moving well and feeling good about his rehabilitated hip. He is looking good, but having said that, he might be a little bit rusty from not playing competitive golf for that long. But he’s in good spirits and happy to be back in action, and hopefully, that can lead to a good comeback from him.

“From what I saw yesterday, (Ian) Poulter seem to be playing some good golf. And Lee (Westwood) is working hard to try and improve on a season that hasn't been what he would have liked. It’s been kind of similar for me as well. It has been an OK year so far. Nothing fantastic and nothing catastrophic. So yeah, we hope to finish off the season with some good finishes.

“I thought Laurie (Canter) did a great job for us in the absence of Sam. He played a lot better than what his results would suggest. Hopefully, he gained from the experience and will be a better player.”

A pain-free Horsfield said he has a lot of things to work on as he makes his comeback, but there are several encouraging signs already.

“The day after surgery, I felt better than I did beforehand,” Horsfield said. “My body is moving way differently. I can actually load and turn my right hip instead of bumping it.

“No expectations this week, but, for not playing golf, I feel like my game’s in good shape. When I swing, it feels good. Hopefully, I’ll play well but just to make it three days pain-free is what I’m really most looking for.”

Going into Chicago, Stenson is the top Majesticks player in the individual standings. He is placed 27th with 41 points, followed by Poulter (33rd with 22 points), Horsfield (42nd with 12) and Westwood (45th with 4 points).

In the team standing, they are in 10th place with 23 points.

In the 2022 edition of LIV Golf Chicago, Westwood was the best Majesticks player, finishing tied 12th at 5-under par 211 with rounds of 68, 71 and 72. Poulter and Stenson were tied 27th at 1-under, while Horsfield was tied 43rd at 221.