That’s not exactly what Henrik Stenson said after he won the LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster on Sunday in his first crack at a Greg Norman-fronted, Saudi-backed tour event.
Only 11 days ago, the 46-year-old Swede was stripped of his European Ryder Cup captaincy by the DP World Tour the moment he joined LIV Golf.
Stenson was crushed by the decision, but he never showed that this week at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey, where he outlasted Matthew Wolff and Dustin Johnson and won by two shots at 11-under par to Wolff’s and Johnson’s respective 9-under.
To ease his open wounds from the Ryder Cup sacking, Stenson won $4 million for finishing first.
“I think there might have been a little extra bit of motivation this week,’’ Stenson said. “And when we as players have that, it can bring out some good stuff. That’s been a bit of a theme — when I really want something, I manage to dig a little bit deeper and make something happen.’’
That was about as far as Stenson would go as it pertained to him wanting to stick it to the powers that be at DP World Tour. As he had on Saturday after taking a three-shot lead into the final round, Stenson on Sunday declined to thump his chest about the victory and shove it in the face of those who fired him.
The job of crowing was left up to some of Stenson’s fellow European players.
“Not a bad way to start your LIV Golf career, is it?’’ England’s Lee Westwood said. “He was obviously thinking about [his Ryder Cup firing] a lot, and he was able to play with a clear mind this week and focus on the golf.’’
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for him,’’ Englishman Ian Poulter said. “He works hard and he’s committed and I know he’s extremely disappointed. He’s done his job this week, which is brilliant.’’
Poulter said he was “disappointed’’ to see Stenson removed as captain.
“Henrik is an emotional person and this would have been a tough thing to take to be stripped of his captaincy when he’d made every single effort possible with LIV Golf to be able to fulfill his contract,” Poulter said. “So, every credit to him to refocus this week and go out there and play the golf he knows he can play. He’s done his job this week and I’m really proud of him.’’
Spain’s Sergio Garcia, another Ryder Cup stalwart, called Stenson’s ability to put his disappointment aside and perform this week “amazing.’’
“I’m so happy for him,’’ Garcia said. “He deserves this so much. I know he was super-excited about being Ryder Cup captain and we were excited for him to be captain. Henrik is a friend of ours and we were all excited for him to be captain, so we were obviously disappointed when he got stripped.’’
Garcia, who’s played through his share of controversies over the years, called the golf course “our haven’’ and believes it helped Stenson refocus when all he had to do was think about playing.
“I’m sure he’s still sad about what happened, but at least he’s happy about the way he played this week and the form he showed,’’ Garcia said. “I’m delighted for him.’’
Stenson called the last 11 days “a bit of a roller coaster,’’ adding, “It’s been a busy 10 days and I’m extremely proud that I was able to focus as well as I did. I haven’t finished the deal in a couple years with any wins. I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family over these last 10 days. When the going gets tough, that’s when friendships are put to the test.’’
Stenson’s friends, obviously, are now with LIV Golf and not the DP World Tour.