Christmas Number One! Henrik Stenson wins the Race to Dubai

The Swede capped a wonderful year in which he won the Claret Jug and an Olympic silver medal

Henrik Stenson

Image: Kamran Jebreili / AP/Press Association Images

Henrik Stenson has capped a wonderful 2016 by becoming Europe's number one golfer after being crowned the Race to Dubai winner.

The Swede came through perhaps the greatest final round in major history against Phil Mickelson earlier in the summer to claim the Claret Jug and a first major of his career. He later went on to win silver in Rio just behind England's Justin Rose. 

His performances on the tour, coupled with Masters champion Danny Willett's dip in form, allowed him to overtake the Sheffield native and finish top of the rankings by almost 300,000 points. 

"It feels great, it's been an amazing year for me," he told Nick Dye. "I didn't think I'd be able to top 2013, but as a whole I think I've done that. Maybe not the level of golf that I've played throughout the year, but at the right times I've played some great golf.

"Winning The Open, winning the BMW International, being up there in contention at the Olympics and winning the overall tour, it's been a great season. It feels lovely to top it off with the Race to Dubai title."

Henrik Stenson kisses the Claret Jug at Royal Troon earlier this year after coming through a spectacular final round against Phil Mickelson. Image: David Davies / PA Wire/PA Images 

Stenson finished this week's season-ending DP World Tour Championship with an excellent 65 and finished alongside Rory McIlroy in T13. 

"I felt that if I was going to be crowned Europe's number one golfer I may as well play some golf on the last day. I certainly did that, it was my best round of the week and the best I've played these last few weeks. It feels nice to finish off this way. 

"[McIlroy] started off well and we just tried to get it going. We both did, he had a fantastic run from five until he missed a short one on 10. He was almost seven under through six holes. He certainly got it going and I was trying to keep up and in the end we both shot 65. A good day for us out there."

The 40-year-old now will now break for the off-season and looks to build on some of his momentum for 2017. But before planning for next season begins, Stenson insisted it is important to savour his achievements.

"I think we got an extra week this year so we've got six weeks between seasons which is huge. There's never been much of an off-season in the last number of years. 

"I'm certainly going to look at that Claret Jug and the Race to Dubai, maybe tangle up that silver medal on top of them. Time to sit back and really enjoy the year I've had out on the course."