Did Thomas Bjorn hit out at Brexit during Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony?

Thomas Bjorn

European captain Thomas Bjorn has vehemently denied that he was making any political points during his speech this afternoon’s Ryder Cup opening ceremony.

The Dane remarked at the official curtain-raiser at Le Golf National that Europe “can be a fragmented place”, adding: “This is one of the few weeks that, under this flag, Europe is united”. 

The remarks drew gasps from some members of the crowd and, when he met the media afterwards, it was put to Bjorn that it sounded as though he was "deliberately addressing the people of the UK". 

Absolutely and categorically not the case, he insisted.

• DETAILS - Opening morning Ryder Cup pairings announced

• "Balls of steel" - Craig Connelly recalls Martin Kaymer's Medinah heroics

"Not at all," he said. "Just remember one thing: I've lived 15 years of my life in England, and England is my home and I love the country. I love living there. I have an English girlfriend and it is my home, and it would probably be very difficult for me to see any time in the future coming out of that country.

• How to watch the 2018 Ryder Cup on TV

"So I love everything about that country. But I am a European, and I'm Danish by birth, and I believe in the things that I believe in, but that doesn't mean that I believe in the European Union or not. 

"I'm not addressing the people of the United Kingdom in any way, shape or form in this. I'm addressing what we are in the European team room."

Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony

Pointing at a yellow and blue ribbon on his lapel, Bjorn added: "Trust me, if you look at all of the United Kingdom players that are in this team, they were that today because, this week, that's what they represent. 

"As I said in the speech, as well, that - for us - represents the boundaries of Europe this week. It doesn't represent the European Union."

• REMINDER: This is what time the Ryder Cup tees off!

• The most glam photos from the Ryder Cup Gala Dinner

Bjorn also pointed to his long-standing support of the European Tour as an example of his passion for the Continent. 

"I've been focussed solely on that tour and I'm very proud of that," he added. "I'm very proud of this part of the world as a Continent. I'm very proud of what we are. 

• How much a day at the 2018 Ryder Cup will cost you

"I always feel like when I get into a Ryder Cup team, it brings out the best in Europeans. That is what we are. We are cross nations. We have different cultural backgrounds. We believe in different thing but, when we get on that team, we are proud of being European. It's forgotten that we have so much in common.

"That's my opinion. Not everybody shares that opinion but that's my opinion. I felt like I wanted to portray what we are as a team to the people that were watching."

Golf News

Top pundit blasts governing bodies over slow play
Get set to see a lot more skin on the PGA Tour
New US Ryder Cup captain to be revealed this week
European Tour pros have putters stolen Down Under
J.B. Holmes fires back after slow play roasting

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods puts new irons in the bag
New Fife golf course gets go ahead
Review: Adare Manor, Ireland's rejuvenated masterpiece
Win a spot in the ASI Scottish Open Pro-Am with Hilton
Padraig Harrington targets 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy

Quick tips with Denis Pugh and Peter Barber See all videos right arrow

play button
The correct way to grip a golf club
Watch
play button
Stand taller at address says Denis Pugh
Watch
play button
Make your swing arc wider
Watch
play button
Align your body at address
Watch
See all videos right arrow