Henrik Stenson keeps his mind on money to avoid footing bill

Swede goes to Turkey determined to avoid paying for an evening out with Ian Poulter

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The Independent Online

Henrik Stenson is doubly determined to stay at the top of the European Tour's Race To Dubai money list – so he can avoid paying out on a losing bet to Ian Poulter.

The Swede has a lead of €145,000 (£121,750) over second-placed Graeme McDowell, with Poulter €542,000 adrift in fourth spot ahead of the final two events of the season, this week's Turkish Airlines Open and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

"I had a bet with Poulter when he was some way behind and he still wants me to pay for a night out if he catches me," Stenson said. "I'm going to try to make sure that doesn't happen. It's a tight race and most likely it's still going to be an open story in Dubai. The bet was a hundred bucks and he got 10-1 so it's going to be bad for me if he wins."

Stenson can certainly afford to pay out after picking up $11.4m for winning the US PGA Tour's FedExCup series and the Tour Championship in Atlanta. "We were having a laugh at Lake Nona in Florida a couple of weeks ago," said the Swede. "He said, 'We have to have a bet, I'm going to chase you down'."

Poulter closed the gap on Stenson by finishing second to American Dustin Johnson in last week's WGC-Champions Tournament in Shanghai while the Swede could only manage a tie for 31st position. The FedEx Cup winner said he had been troubled by a sore wrist in recent weeks.

"It's been bothering me a bit, but during play it's been all right," added Stenson. "It's all about keeping it mobile, taking some pills every now and again and doing quite a lot of icing. I've kept my hand in the ice bucket for quite some time.

"There's always going to be some wear and tear over long-term golfing. It wasn't a thing that came on suddenly so that was a good thing. It wasn't like I hit a shot and just all of a sudden I started feeling a lot of pain."

The 78-man Turkish Open begins tomorrow and offers a first prize of €848,930. Tiger Woods, the world No 1, is the only non-European taking part in the event, and ahead of the tournament he hit balls from Europe into Asia when half of the six-lane Bosphorus Bridge was closed.

Woods stood on a makeshift tee and launched drives along the world's fourth-longest suspension bridge, which spans 5,118ft and stands 210ft above the Bosphorus River in Istanbul. "To be the first golfer to do this was very cool," he said.

Phil Mickelson announced he will launch his campaign next year by returning to the Abu Dhabi Championship for the first time since 2011. He said last week he would be making cuts to his schedule, but will join Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Luke Donald in a strong field at the European Tour event in January.