NORTON, Mass. — British Open champion Henrik Stenson shot the lowest score in major championship history with a slight cartilage tear in his right knee.
Stenson said Thursday that tests revealed the injury that dates to the U.S. Open in June. He had surgery last December, but this tear was in a slightly different spot. He also had cartilage surgery in his left knee in December 2011.
The 40-year-old Swede said his knee problems do not affect his shots, though he feels discomfort walking 18 holes, especially on courses with side slopes.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how much potential grief it gives us, if I want to do another procedure or if it’s something I can cope with over time,” Stenson said. “Given the summer I had, maybe I should have torn it earlier.”
Stenson won the British Open at Royal Troon by closing with a 63 to hold off Phil Mickelson and set the scoring record at majors with a 264. A month later, he had to settle for the silver medal at the Olympics when Justin Rose birdied the final hole.
He is No. 4 in the world and a leading force for Europe when it defends the Ryder Cup on Sept. 30 at Hazeltine. Stenson said he plans to be ready.
Stenson withdrew after one round of The Barclays last week because of pain in his right knee and went home to Florida for tests. He is playing the Deutsche Bank Championship and said he felt fine except for a little pain toward the end of his round.
“The one thing that potentially irritates it is you’re walking … like Bethpage has a lot of side slopes,” he said. “That gets more force in the knee. Hitting golf shots is the same when I came back from the left one in ’11 and the right one this year. I was fine to hit golf shots. Walking is the hard part.”
Stenson is No. 21 in the FedEx Cup. He does not plan to play next week at the BMW Championship, so he would need a good showing at the TPC Boston to assure being among the top 30 who advance to the Tour Championship at East Lake on Sept. 22
There is a week off between the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship, so Stenson will have either a two- or three-week break.
“I’m going to have some time off before the Ryder Cup,” Stenson said. “When I looked at the season, a lot was going to be the majors, the Olympics and the Ryder Cup. Something has to give at some point. At this time now, I’m running out of steam a little bit and I’m paying the price for a very hectic and successful summer.
“The Ryder Cup is on my mind. It’s a big event,” he added. “I want to be as prepared and rested when we get there because it is one of the most tiring weeks. Coming in there and not being rested is never ideal.”