DUBAI – He might be the walking wounded, but that hasn't stopped Henrik Stenson from returning to the place he once called 'home.'
The Swede now resides in Orlando, Florida, but Dubai was where he lived once upon a time. It was here he got married to Emma Lofgren. It was here they had their first child Lisa and it was here he won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2007.
It was here that he won back-to-back DP World Tour Championships in 2013 and 2014 and it was here that he won the prestigious Race to Dubai.
So, even a knee surgery at the end of last year hasn't prevented Stenson from coming back for another tilt at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which begins Thursday at the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club.
The 39-year-old has been a familiar face at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters as well as the prestigious Dubai Desert Classic, which forms the "Desert Swing" on the European Tour.
The knee is taking time to heal and is still a work in progress, but going by his start to the year, it isn't hampering Stenson that much. On the contrary, he has come out the better from it.
The world No. 6 was second in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa, in December and was tied third along with world No. 2 Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi just a fortnight ago.
And though he missed the Qatar Masters for the first time in 15 years, Stenson, who is tied with McIlroy for most European Tour titles in the Middle East, currently leads the 2016 Race to Dubai.
And he was in good spirits on the eve of the Desert Classic on Wednesday.
"It's still attached. It's moving forward. I'm lifting the leg," chuckled Stenson, when asked about his knee.
"It feels all right. I don't expect to be 100 percent this week, either, but it should be good enough once again. It's going to be that way for the next couple of months, I guess," he said on a more serious note.
And Stenson, who was the European Tour Golfer of the Year in 2013, said it was good to be back in Dubai.
"It's a great week. I made Dubai my home for almost 10 years. It's always nice to be back, a lot of familiar faces, familiar golf course, which I have some great memories from, especially the win back in 2007, of course," Stenson said.
"It was hard to miss Doha last week. I've played every Qatar Masters, every Dubai Desert Classic since I came on Tour in 2001 and every outing in Abu Dhabi since 2006. I'm part of the human tour I guess at these events, and I was ashamed to miss it, but felt like I had to give it a rest last week.
"I couldn't go straight back into playing 11 days of golf more or less coming out of surgery, so it was the wise decision. Hopefully I'm good to go, like I said, this week," he added.
Stenson also said that had it not been for the Desert Classic, he would have delayed his return from surgery.
"If it had not been a tournament that means that much to me, I possibly would have pushed the return a little bit," he said.
Stenson was pleased with how it had turned out after his return. "I was very pleased with the start there (Abu Dhabi). I haven't really been up and running; the previous two times I missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, which is never good fun," said Stenson.
"I was very pleased with the week, both on the results side and how I played, my putting was good and short game was pretty good. Long game was a little on and off, so I've been working some on that and happy with the way things are going and hopefully I can bring that into this week, too," he said.
This article was written by James Jose from Khaleej Times and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.