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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 22 October 2020

Open champ Stenson dedicates victory to friend who lost battle with cancer last week

“He was one of the real good guys back in Dubai.”

Image: Matt Dunham

AFTER BEATING PHIL Mickelson in a dramatic final day at Royal Troon, Henrik Stenson dedicated his Open Championship triumph to a friend who died last week.

During his victory speech, the Swede held up the Claret Jug and said “this one’s for you” in reference to Mike Gerbich, an American friend of Stenson’s who died of cancer last week at the age of 74.

“He was one of the real good guys back in Dubai,” said Stenson, who lived in the Emirate before moving to the United States in 2012.

“I’ve known him for many, many years, and he was a very keen golfer and a great man.

He’s been battling cancer for a long time, but I had news on Tuesday that the end was near, and unfortunately he passed away on Wednesday morning over in the US.

“So he’s always been there as a big supporter of mine, and in good days and bad days he’s always sent me messages and been out at some events.

“This one is dedicated to him, for sure. I felt like he was there with me this week.”

Stenson had started the day on 12-under par, a shot clear of Mickelson, but said he had a good feeling about his game this week.

“It’s not something you want to run around and shout, but I felt like this was going to be my turn,” said the Swede, whose Open record overall score of 20 under par at Royal Troon gave him a three-stroke winning margin over Mickelson.

British Open Golf Source: Ben Curtis

“I knew I was going to have to battle back if it wasn’t, but I think that was the extra self-belief that made me go all the way this week.”

“I’m very proud of the way I played. It was a great match with Phil. It seemed like it was going to be a two-horse race, and it was all the way to the end,” said Stenson.

“I knew he wasn’t going to back down at any point, and in a way that makes it easier for myself.” 

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