PITTSFORD, N.Y. – No chance youve heard this one before: Two Swedish guys go off in the next-to-last pairing in the final round of the PGA Championship and
One of them wins a major.
Were definitely increasing the chances with having two guys up there rather than one, Henrik Stenson said.
Or, he added a moment later, none.
Hard to argue with that.
Stenson and Jonas Blixt will try to do something today at Oak Hill that none of their countrymen has ever accomplished, but countrywoman Annika Sorenstam did 10 times. Stenson, who shot 69 in the third round and was at 7 under, will tee off two shots behind leader Jim Furyk. Blixt, who carded a 66 and might have locked up the shot-of-the-tournament title with his approach into No. 18, will start three behind.
You wouldnt know it by watching any Ingmar Bergman films, but some Swedes are funny. Stenson, for instance, famously stripped down to nothing but his skivvies and a golf glove in a tournament three years ago to play a shot from a water hazard. After the video went viral, he was asked a day later what the reaction had been.
A lady in the crowd said if thats what watching golf is about, shes going to start watching a lot more, he deadpanned.
When the questioner persisted, insisting that someone must have expressed some disapproval, Stenson pointed in the direction of his wife, Emma, who happened to be holding their 1-year-old daughter at the time.
We see him in his boxers all the time, she said, just as nonplussed.
Blixts excellent adventure at the 18th had its comical element as well. His tee shot veered well left of the fairway, bounced and found the back pocket of a spectator named Muhammad Khokar. After Blixt arrived on the scene to find a crowd gathered around Khokar and was told what happened, his response – Did it plug? – cracked up the informal get-together.
I never did anything like that, Blixt said afterward. A friend of my father hit someone in the ass one day. The first thing that came out of his mouth: Did it plug? So its kind of where I got the line from.
It was very fortunate that he was standing where he was so I didnt have to deal with too many trees and stuff like that. Hit a good 5-iron. Got a lucky bounce up the hill and trickled to three feet.
And thank you, Blixt added, hats off to someone who did that to me.
Stenson recounted in detail how just two years ago, in the middle of a career drought, he failed to qualify for the PGA and played in his clubs two-man team championship back in Sweden instead.
I was up in contention there, as well, he said. I didnt win.
The other guys have got to be telling quite a story, a reporter reminded him.
Yeah, Stenson said, I saw it as a kind gesture to give him a bit of confidence.
Yet both men did their best to tamp down speculation about what it would mean back home to have either return home with a major championship trophy.
That would be huge. I mean, its a very small country, Blixt said. You set your goals high and thats a very high goal for both me and Henrik.
Echoed Stenson, It would be lovely, but were still a long ways away from that. Theres no point thinking about tomorrow and thinking ahead of things.
Yet reporters kept asking, one even trying an emotional appeal to Blixt.
Did something go through your heart when you saw how excited Adam (Scott) was to become the first Aussie to win a Masters? he asked.
Well, Blixt replied with a hint of a smile, Adam doesnt really do it for me.