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May 27, 2016

Thomas Bjorn

Q. Third crack as a vice captain, what was the conversation like when Darren asked you?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Our friendship goes back such a long way, so it was really not much of a conversation to be honest. It was more along the lines, if you don't make it as a player, I want you to help me. So it was an easy conversation for us. We have a great friendship that goes way beyond golf and we've always been there for each other for a lot of different things, not only golf. It was an easy decision for me. It was not something I needed to think about. If Darren asks me stuff, I'll do anything I can to help him and that's what we do in this, as well. We go as a group of guys that know each other well and hopefully try and do a job for 12 players and make them feel good and comfortable about what they have got to do. That's all we can do. We are very well aware of what we are up against. We need to make sure guys perform really well and make them function as a unit and we believe we've got the experience to do that. And that's -- we can only layout the rules and the guidelines for them and then home that they play to the best of their abilities.

Q. What's your best asset to help guys kind of relax and flourish in that environment?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, I just think that when you go and play a Ryder Cup in America, it's a tough task on a European player. It's a tough task for the Americans to come to Europe and play and perform. You've got to have the will to win. You've got to have the hunger to go out there and show that you're capable of handling those pressure situations. When you look at the group we have, we've all been there individually and we have been there as a team, as well. We can help those guys understand what it is they are going to go up against; how to enjoy those moments, because they can be very daunting.

So you've got to go out there and try and take in the atmosphere and use it to some sort of advantage and make the best of you come out in that week.

We'll try and guide them in that direction, but you know, time will tell if we'll be successful at doing it.

Q. You have been involved in six Ryder Cups, very emotionally, very proud of your achievements. Three of them as a player, three as the vice captain. So what have you learned from that vice captaincy role to bring to this year?
THOMAS BJÖRN: You learn a lot every time, but you learn mostly about how to deal with players, young players, new players in the team, how you make them understand what The Ryder Cup is. Playing Ryder Cup in America is kind of extremely daunting but we have been very successful in dragging the best out of our players the last few times when they go to America.

So we will continue down that route and hopefully with the experience that we have in this team behind the 12 players that's going to go, we can help them perform the best that they can. That's what it's all about. I always say, don't ever take the eye off who you're playing against. There's a fantastic 12 players on the other side, and you've got to do some things better than them. You've got to get your guys to play well, and you've also got to get them to feature well as a group.

I think we over the years have laid down a very successful way of doing it, and I'm sure we won't go too much off on new routes from what we've done in the past. But that's also important for the players to have people that have been a part of that, so we have continued with guys that have been involved with many years as players, and also behind the scenes, and Darren will be a great captain. He putts a lot of trust in his people.

The modern player today is different. He needs his support team around him. That's the way they play their golf normally. That's why guys that have been there before know exactly what's going on in their heads and that's important. We will try and be there for the players as well as we can and try and make them play as one big unit.

Q. How will it work with Darren; you're a sounding board, you will give opinions? You're very forthright with him presumably?
THOMAS BJÖRN: You tell Darren the truth, what you see in each player, what you see in every situation and give him your honest opinion and in the end, the buck stops with him but what he believes to be the right decision -- he will ask questions and he will get probably three different answers from the three of us. And then he has to make a decision now what he thinks is the right one. But you can only off opinions, and your opinions are not always right. But we will work together as a group and make sure that whatever decision he makes, you certainly offer your opinions and we certainly put to him what the pros and cons of every decision is. And then he will make at least considered decisions.

I was very fortunate to play on the last Ryder Cup Team under a wonderful captain, and every time you play and every time you do the vice captain role, you learn something new. But I got a lot of experience in golf and I know what it's like to focus on your own thing and I also know what it's like to be out there and focusing on all 12 players, 12 caddies, wives and girlfriends and all those things that comes with the team. And that's a different kind of role. That's the thing that you have to take and put all your effort into for that week, and it starts now by getting to know everybody properly and getting to know what they like, what they don't like, what makes everybody tick. And as a group, we don't just discuss it when we get to Hazeltine. We've already started discussing it, each individual, and we'll keep doing that until we get there.

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