I’ll skydive with Jug if I win – Stenson

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The Open 2016: Henrik Stenson beats Phil Mickelson in final-day battle
2017 Open Championship on the BBC
Venue: Royal Birkdale Dates: 20-23 July
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Henrik Stenson says he’ll take the Claret Jug skydiving if he successfully defends the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale this week.

The Swede carded a joint-record eight-under-par 63 in the final round at Royal Troon in 2016 to win The Open by three shots after an enthralling final-day tussle with Phil Mickelson.

“I don’t know which is going to be harder, winning the Claret Jug again or going skydiving – that thought scares me a little bit,” he said. “It won’t stop me from trying though.”

Stenson, 41, has relished carrying the Claret Jug around the world – he has even taken it jet-skiing – and said he was sad to hand it back to the tournament organisers.

“It had become like part of the family,” he said. “It’s an iconic trophy. It’s been the busiest year, but also the best year in my professional career.”

Stenson will partner former world number one Jordan Spieth in the first two rounds at Royal Birkdale, a player he is seeking to emulate as a multiple major winner.

“Once you win one, obviously that’s off your shoulder,” he said.

“I think that’s pretty much what we’re aiming for, a few more chances to win more major championships.”

Exciting times for golf – Spieth

Spieth comes into the Open on the back of his second victory of the season in the Travelers Championship

For his part, Spieth is aiming to bring an end to the streak of first-time major winners that started with Jason Day’s 2015 PGA Championship win and most recently saw Brooks Koepka win the US Open.

The run of first-time winners now spans seven majors, and 23-year-old Spieth believes it underlines just how hard it is for one player to dominate.

“It’s very tough to do,” the American said. “You have to have a lot of things go right at the right times.

“Guys are winning younger, playing more fearless, even in major championships. I think it’s going to be a very exciting time.

“You’ll see a group of 10 to 12 guys over the next 15-20 years, that are going to have a lot of different competitions that come down the stretch with each other.

“It’s different than one person being the guy to beat. But I think it’s exciting.”

England’s Chris Wood, and Americans Mark O’Meara and Ryan Moore will be the first group away at 06:35 BST on Thursday.

Stenson and Spieth get under way at 09:47, alongside South Korea’s Kim Si-woo.

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