THOMAS BJORN | RYDER CUP
It’s been 19 years since Thomas Bjorn made his Ryder Cup debut.
He had only joined the European Tour 18 months earlier, but a magnificent run of form saw him play his way onto a team that was captained by one of Europe’s greatest ever golfers in Seve Ballesteros, and featured several others, including Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer.
"You can’t do anything wrong as a rookie" - Thomas Bjorn
Now, Thomas Bjorn is preparing to take on the vice-captain role for a fourth time under Darren Clarke’s leadership – but what advice will he be giving to the six rookies in the team: Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick, Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera-Bello?
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“Just take it in,” he said. “You can’t do anything wrong as a rookie. There is no wrong when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
“Just go and do what you do. Any rookie in any sport has one danger and that’s building things up too much in their head. Once you do that, you try and become a player that you’re not, and that’s not what got you there. Be the player you are. That’s all you need to do.
"You don’t want to turn around and have nobody with you" - Thomas Bjorn
“We always try and build our senior players up to put their arm around the rookies and make sure they are as comfortable as possible.
“You have a responsibility when you’re in the team and have been there a lot before to make sure the whole group is with you. It’s easy to go at 200mph, but you don’t want to turn around and have nobody with you. You want to have all of the other 11 guys with you.
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“I’d say to the rookies, just lean on somebody. If there’s nobody you know that well, lean on the vice-captains and the captains. We all work together to make the group feel at home. That’s the best advice. Also, no question is stupid.
"There is no superstar and there is no No.12" - Thomas Bjorn
“Whenever a player feels a little bit uncomfortable, no question can be stupid because it’s in everyone’s interest the player feels 100%. Once we’re there, we’re all together as one. There is no superstar and there is no No.12. There are 12 players that are equal in everything we do and are equally important in what we’re trying to achieve.
“Yes, somebody will play more and somebody will play less. Somebody will play great and somebody will play poorly, but all players are important for what we’re trying to achieve. We don’t put any demands on our players. You come with what you’ve got, you try your best to win points and, if you don’t, that’s ok.”
Thomas Bjorn in bunkered
This interview with Thomas Bjorn first appeared in Issue 149 of bunkered (July 2016).