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April 20, 2005

Thomas Bjorn


CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Welcome Thomas. Trust you've just finished your pro-am. How was the course?

THOMAS BJORN: It's good. It's what we expect when we come out now. The courses are good, they are new and they have done well. It's set up well. A well designed golf course. Obviously it was tricky this morning with these conditions but in normal conditions, it's very playable, very scorable. It's not the most demanding golf course in the way it is right now. Three weeks ago, there was snow on the course and they've done a remarkable job to get the course the way it is. This course is dependent on what the wind does. If it calms down a little, you'll see good scores.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: You've had four top-fives in Asia. You must rate your chances here.

THOMAS BJORN: I fancy my chances any week. I have played some good golf in the last six or seven months. I feel I can compete on every week that I'm playing. It's started to feel more consistent, feel a little bit better with everything. It's getting about that time when something starts happening. You can't live on finishing top five all the time. You have to win tournaments and that eventually has to happen.

Q. A week off after the Masters, can you talk about your Masters experience?

THOMAS BJORN: When you have experiences like that, you have to go away from there. You have to sit back and reflect on what happened that week. In the first three rounds, it was tremendous. I did really well. Kept myself in contention and never made mistakes. And then the last round happens and you go away disappointed. But I've never gone away from there with disappointment with my Masters performance. That's my first Major championship since the British Open and around that time, it was a bit tough for me. I have to take a lot of good from that. I played one of the top courses in the world and performed well for three days. I was disappointed with the last round and not because I didn't feel confident or not because I didn't believe in what I could do in the round. I hit a couple of poor shots on the wrong holes and when you don't momentum on the golf course and when you get caught in situation where the things are not going your way and the things that go on around you, then that course is very difficult. The numbers just ran up in the end and it was not particularly that I was playing all that bad. That's Augusta for you. I have to take a lot of good from that. I can't sit back. A lot of people have written and said after wards that I don't have what it takes and that I can't perform on the big stage when it matters. I have to say I know I can perform on the big stage when it matters. I know that six months ago my golf career was in a completely different place. To take it to Augusta National and play it the way I did, I have to take a lot of good from that and know that my golf is in the right direction. People can say whatever they want about the last round. I was just as disappointed with everyone else but life goes on.

Q. More tournaments are being co-sanctioned in China. As a European Tour player, how do you feel about that?

THOMAS BJORN: I said all along when I came out here the first time and I said to George O'Grady (European Tour Executive Director) and Louis Martin (Asian Tour Chief Executive) that the European Tour and Asian Tour have a great future if they go it together. Especially with a lot of sponsors are in Asia and China, either being of European origin or have a lot of interests in Europe. We have a great future out here. It's interesting times for European Tour and Asian Tour. The Asian Tour has a great future ahead of them the way golf is growing here. If we can do it together, both tours can benefit and the players can benefit. I can't see the reasons why we can't do it together. We have always compared us to the PGA Tour but I think the time has come to say what can we do to make our tour better and what we can do the make the Asian Tour better. Co-sanction events at certain times in a year where we can't play in Europe and Asia needs the European interests, there's no greater future for us. A co-sanction event in my opinion is the saviour to both the European Tour and Asian Tour.

Q. Following on from that, could you imagine the day when we effectively have an Asian Swing and moving on from that, do you think we can have co-sanction events in Europe like we do here?

THOMAS BJORN: That's not for me to really answer the question. It's for George and Louis to answer. I would see it being difficult for the Asian Tour to just accept just an Asian swing as being a part of the European Tour. They have so many interests in their own Tour and in the way golf is going to grow in Asia. They have to look after their own interests and their own players. I see that being a hard sell to the Asian Tour. And the other way around, I think it'll be difficult to sell our spots in Europe as we have so many good players. We are always full every week with the players that we have. I think if we go to a number of tournaments that we want to do together and sell them together, I think that's the future for us. What you are saying is that in time, we almost combine the two Tours because I see that as a hard sell at the moment. The interests are just so different.

Q. Could you envisage a Ryder Cup style match between Europe and Asia?

THOMAS BJORN: That's the possibility. But you have the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup, the Dynasty Cup, the Solheim Cup, the Walker Cup, the Seve TrophY; you've got all sorts of cups. Eventually, you have to say enough of that. There's only one that is the one and that is the Ryder Cup and there is no doubt about it. That's not taking anything away from the other tournaments. The Ryder Cup is the Ryder Cup and it's always going to be the number one. You cannot make another Ryder Cup. It just doesn't come along. The Ryder Cup is special for the reasons that it is special. And I don't think making anything between Europe and Asia, the Presidents Cup it doesn't come close to the Ryder Cup. I don't think we need to go down that road. I think there're enough tournaments in that calibre to be played and I think they all have their own rights to be played and I don't think we need to go down that road.

End of FastScripts.

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