SOUTHPORT, England (Reuters) – Defending champion Henrik Stenson tried to stay positive on Friday after his clothing for this week’s British Open was stolen from the house he is renting near Royal Birkdale.
He was told about the burglary after finishing his first-round 69 on Thursday and, after hastily organising new gear, he returned to the course to shoot a 73 that left him two over par for the tournament, nine shots behind the leader.
“Of course, it was not the afternoon, evening that we wanted yesterday to get the news,” Stenson told reporters.
“I was still out here getting physio treatment. It was kind of surreal and to find out that my suitcase and all my clothes were gone, that was a bit weird.”
Stenson said he still had dirty laundry in another bag.
“I managed to wash some of that up. Boss provided some other stuff. And yeah, we can keep on going, obviously. But it’s not happy news is it?,” he said.
Stenson had returned the Claret Jug trophy he won last year to tournament organisers earlier in the week.
“We were very sorry to hear about the burglary and have offered any assistance we can provide to Henrik and his family,” a spokesman for the Royal & Ancient golf club said.
The thieves failed to spot Stenson’s carry-on bag.
“If they’re listening, they didn’t get the full jackpot, but they got obviously a lot of valuables, watches and other things,” he said.
“But they were clearly targeting me because they were there when I was out playing and they figured out that the house was empty.”
Stenson believes social media may have been a factor in the incident.
“Obviously, I had a car this week with The Open logo,” he said.
“I took pictures with some people that obviously I don’t suspect in any way, but you know how social media works, if someone takes a picture in front of the house it might be tagged where the picture was taken and someone puts one and one together.”
(Reporting by Simon Evans and Ed Osmond,; Editing by Toby Chopra and John Stonestreet)