Thomas Bjorn Exclusive Interview with OLBG

Updated: 203 Golf

Thomas Bjorn Exclusive Interview with OLBG
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Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

Thomas Bjorn Talks to OLBG Ahead of The Open

Thomas Bjørn has been a professional golfer since 1993, playing on the Challenge Tour until winning his European Tour card in 1996  He is the most successful Danish golfer to have played the game having won fifteen tournaments worldwide on the European Tour. In 1997 he also became the first Dane to qualify for a European Ryder Cup team. He captained the winning European side at the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Here he talks exclusively to OLBG ahead of the 2022 Open.

Thomas BjornImage: Shutterstock/Isogood_patrick

The Open is wide open - and St Andrews is a different beast to other tournaments

It's pretty amazing. There are Open Championships, which is arguably the greatest tournament in the world, and there's Opens at St Andrews, which is just completely different. 

It's going to be a very, very special tournament, in the sense of Tiger being there

still trying to see if he can recover from his injuries. And there's a long list of young players in today's game that are kind of queuing up really to win major championships. So it's a pretty open Open. 

The Open is purest form of the game - the trophy is all players care about, not money

This is what golf is all about, these are the events that the players always in history want to play in and nothing is bigger than The Open at St Andrews.

So this is important for the game, now we come back to what we play for. And it's important for players and fans and everybody around to remember that this is what we play for, this is not about money. This is not about anything. 

This is about a trophy. It's about playing a golf course, the purest form of the game at the oldest course and winning the greatest trophy in the world. 

And whoever wins on Sunday will never ever think for one second about the money that they're winning, they’ll think about the trophy they won. This is what professional sports in general should be about.

We tend to in the world move towards a way of talking about money, how much is everybody earning, how much can we make?

It is a great opportunity to put a reset in the mind about why they play the game when they come to a championship like this.

Thomas BjornThomas Bjorn, Image: Shutterstock/masuti

Tiger has the brainpower others don’t have to win this week

I think St Andrews is demanding on the brain. That's one of the things about that course, it gives you a lot, and it takes a lot away from you, you know, you got to be really mentally sound. 

Tiger will be fine physically. I saw him in Ireland, and physically he wouldn't be doing it if you didn't feel like he could do it. 

He's putting a lot of demand on that body. But it's a place that if the weather's not too bad, I think he can get around it and he knows it so well. 

It's always felt like, even before his accident and stuff, Augusta was a place where he could compete regardless of his injury and all those things, because it was a place he knew so well. He knew how to play it. And St Andrews is a close second. 

Tiger has a great history there, and his brain does not have any problems. He still thinks the game better than anyone. It's not about playing perfect golf, it's about playing really smart golf and know your limitations of how to play that golf course. 

That's one thing he has and will never lose the ability to be better than anybody else to plot his way around the golf course.

Matt Fitzpatrick is a tactical master - this should suit him down to a tee

This should suit him very well, because he is a master at playing the game tactically. 

The only fear with somebody like Matt, is you come off your major victory, where's your mind at in the sense of are you tired? Can you handle another week of that kind of pressure and that kind of attention? There'll be a lot of focus, he's not so used to that extreme attention.

He definitely has the game but that’s we he has to learn to deal with now. And that's gonna be different. 

He played pretty decent in Scotland, which was a good sign and Billy his caddy will be trying to keep him focused and on track for this week, and then well, knowing that after this, there's a little bit of a gap for him and and then he gets to enjoy the spoils.

So it's a big week for him. I think. Also being probably the biggest British favourite is something that always hangs over the British players in an Open Championship that when you have that favourite role, it's not that easy to deal with all the time.

Thomas BjornThomas Bjorn, Image: Shutterstock/Isogood_patrick

Rory McIlroy is a man on a mission to join the greats of the game

He's got the bit between his teeth at the moment, he really does it looks like he's a man on a mission. 

I wouldn't say he went missing but he's struggled a little bit with certain parts of his game - yet at the moment, he seems very determined, very focused on achieving. And when players of that calibre have that kind of mindset, they are always very dangerous.

He needs a week when he gets off to a start - he struggles to get off a start aty Open Championships, so he needs to get off to a start. He needs to feel like he's in the event. And then we know what he's capable of.

He certainly has an aura and personality to have an Open Championship at St Andrews. Historically, all the greats of the game have succeeded around there.

Schauffele’s the one to fear - no-one in world golf is playing to his level

I think Xander Schauffele’s the one, coming off two victories.. When’s he gonna run out of steam? You know, it takes a lot out of you. But he certainly is the one that's playing the best golf in the world right now. 

Scottie Scheffler falls into the group of all those young players that are phenomenal and coming through. He’s world number one, but it's happened so quickly, it's not something that you saw coming, it's not something that's built up over a long time. He has played unbelievable golf, I think there's a big group of players that just seem to mix it around and the top of the world rankings. You’ve got John Rahm, Viktor Hovland, and then you've got all the American players. And Scottie’s got to be probably the lead of that.

It will be unforgivable if golf bosses damage the Ryder Cup

We're at a stage at the moment where we need to find our way with all of this, and land in a place where you make the right decisions. 

Obviously, a Ryder Cup is coming around at the end of 2023, and you need to start looking at qualifications and how people get into teams, but I do think it's important to take a breath at the moment and see how these things over the next month or two. 

See how it develops so you get a clearer picture of where it's going. 

We've got to get through The Open this week and get an understanding of what people want, and what is it that we're trying to achieve with the game? 

One thing that would be, is that it would be one of the saddest things that you could ever describe that a great event that like the Ryder Cup suffers on the back of these things. 

It'll be unforgivable for all parties if they don't find a solution that works for the sake of the game because there’s nothing that brings as much attention to the game as the Ryder Cup. 

And we don't want that to be starting bringing a negative thought to the game of golf. 

More tours will make it harder for team unity

Everybody has a responsibility in trying to make the most of that. 

The more different tours guys play on, the more difficult it is to kind of create an environment that's easy for them to perform in. But that goes across both teams. 

But I just want everyone to take a step back and look at this and say, well, it's important that we try and land somewhere.

The noise is just too much for anybody to see clearly to be honest.

Rebel stars have a responsibility to the Ryder Cup, not just themselves

A couple of (LIV)  players in the European team, yes, they are coming to the back end of their Ryder Cup careers. But in the end, if they are good enough, they know what the Ryder Cup is about. And that's actually on both sides. 

They know what the Ryder Cup is, they know what to, but you've got to look at it very carefully. They also hold the responsibility to the Ryder Cup and make sure that they don't overstep the marks that have made them the players they are.

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