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June 27, 2018

Thomas Bjorn

Paris, France

Q. Thomas, just how many meetings have you had so far this week and how many are still to go?
THOMAS BJØRN: Ah, just a few, but I think we've quite uncovered everything, and to be honest, the week is probably a bit more quiet because we've done the preparations and we are in a good place with everything. So you come in and things appear in your mind when you get here; and I've been here a lot, and walking around the golf course and being at the venue, but now it might be a different setup of hospitalities and units, but you get a feel of what's coming. So you walk around the golf course and you see things and you think about things, and you kind of get with people and talk about those. But in general I feel like we're on top of things and probably a little bit ahead of schedule, so surprisingly calm.

Q. I guess people don't appreciate how much work goes into being captain. Right?
THOMAS BJØRN: Yeah, it has been so far. It has been very much a way of -- all the preparation, that happens around these things, and there is a lot of meetings, but now our focus is turning on to the players and the big summer ahead. And probably start at Wentworth, but now you get into some big Rolex Series events; here, Ireland, Scotland and the Open and the PGA Championship. So there's a lot of great big events to be played. And sitting on the sideline watching everything unfold is going to be interesting, but I feel we're in a good place. The players are playing well and there's a lot of guys trending in the right direction. And their focus will be on major championships and individual achievements, and that's music to my ears. That's what I want them to be. I want them to focus on going out and achieve the things that they want to do as an individual sportsmen, and once we get a bit closer, then we'll start talking about Ryder Cup. But Ryder Cup is a consequence of success of an individual. So I like just watching from afar. There's not too many in-depth conversations going on, but it will start building up over the next few weeks.

Q. In terms of the course this week, in terms of how it lays out, is it looking much similar, do you think, come September? Tommy Fleetwood was saying that he felt visually it's changed in 12 months, and he felt that was perhaps to do with what we will see here in a couple of months' time.
THOMAS BJØRN: Yeah, but you always gotta think about it this way. The golf course is probably more back to the way it used to be. That was a lot of work that's gone over the last two or three years of rebuilding and reshaping the surrounding areas for a Ryder Cup, as big of an event as the Ryder Cup is. So a lot of things was going on. It has changed its look from the way it originally was. I think the way it looks this week is probably more the way I remember it, the way I played my first French Open here. So it's just come back to where all that work has been done, and now you can let the golf course go back to the way it should be. I played the golf course yesterday. I thought it was fantastic. I thought it was in great condition. Everything around it is set up for a great championship. You can't take away that we're playing for a trophy here, we're playing a Rolex Series event, so it's a very big part of the European Tour, and I think (indiscernible). Those players gotta go out, and that's what they do week in, week out, live in these golf tournaments, and that's the way they make their livelihood, and you've gotta keep the focus on that as well, as much as we're building to the Ryder Cup and this being the venue. Whatever the golf course is out there, and I've always said this golf course is a magnificent golf course. It's set up in a certain way and it always has been, and yeah, it's changed a little bit from last year, but that's mostly because it's just grown itself ready for the Ryder Cup. So this will probably be very similar to the Ryder Cup venue, but weather permitting, the weather can be very different in September than it is in June and July. So there's a lot of things that can happen, but I just think the golf course is set up fantastic this week, so we'll see how guys get on.

Q. For those who are on the fringes of selection, how they fit into this course this week, is that the kind of thing you're going to look for? (Indiscernible).
THOMAS BJØRN: I mean it obviously never hurts to have a good record on the golf course that's the venue, but I would say that when we take the best players in the world and put them on a golf course at any given moment in time, they're going to find their way around the golf course. And form is something that you can't really shy away from. But there's a lot of things that plays into it, the shape of the team and how many rookies do you have, how many experienced players do you have. There's a lot of things as a captain that plays into making those decisions. Yeah, can they play the golf course, well, that might be a tiny little bit of it, but that's a bit of maybe 10, 15, 20 components that you look at before you make your pick. So -- but you can't shy away from the golf course. It's obviously important. But any player that's in this field this week can play this golf course when they're in form. They're the best in the world when they play. And you've gotta look at -- you wouldn't be a professional golfer, you wouldn't play on the European Tour or the PGA TOUR if you couldn't play this game. And I know you gotta get things right with your technique, your mental attitude and then go out and play. Then they can all play. So it's only -- it's a combined thing of many things that makes a Ryder Cup player. So it's not just a golf course.

Q. Justin Thomas is here this week for a bit of reconnaissance he said as well. Are you surprised a few more Americans haven't made the trip over this week?
THOMAS BJØRN: No. That goes a little bit back to what I was just saying. People believe that when they are on form and in the right frame of mind, they can play any golf course. Justin has made the trip, and he's made the trip for whatever reasons he's made the trip; and for the event, it's great. He's a big-time player, and he is a major champion, and it's good to see American players come over and play in these events. You know, that's the general feel. In the golfing family we're trying to make great events that's the reason the best players play in the events that they play in. So we're happy to see Justin Thomas. Am I surprised that nobody else came? Not really. They're all busy and they do their schedules. And the top players in the world schedule themselves to win major championships, and Justin Thomas probably felt like this was in his preparation for the Open Championship, this was great. Other players would feel like this wouldn't fit in and that's why they're not here. So that's part and parcel of running golf events.

For me if all the 25 best American players would have been here, it wouldn't make any difference to how I prepare for the Ryder Cup. You know, and I'm happy with the European players that are here, and I'll have a conversation -- we'll have plenty of conversations with the ones that have made it over here. (Indiscernible).

Q. Welcome back to Le Golf National. Another strong week, a Rolex Series week, you must be excited about the week ahead.
THOMAS BJØRN: Yeah. These events are great. They get the best players in Europe together. And this is an extremely strong venue. It's very good golf course. So we're excited for the week ahead. For me it obviously has a little bit of a different feel to it with what comes in September, but in general I'm glad to be here as a player, but also as a captain to watch from the sidelines a bit how people fare. And all these weeks from now until the end of August are important, and I'll look at each one of them and see who does what and what direction people are trending. And then we'll make -- have some decisions to make when we come to the beginning of September.

Q. And how are you doing? How is the game? We saw you yesterday practicing on a few things.
THOMAS BJØRN: Yeah. That's about the only practice I think I've got in the last month and a half. So it's not a great place to go out and play one of the toughest golf courses in Europe, but I've said all along that that doesn't matter. My golf is very much secondary at the moment, so I'll go out and I'll play the golf course, and I'll enjoy playing the course. And I'll learn a lot for me, with my eyes focused on September. So my own golf doesn't really fit into anything. It's not about that at this point. It's about, for me, what's ahead. But for these guys over here, for the other European players over here, it's about going out in a Rolex Series event and putting in a great performance. And this is a tough test of golf, and you gotta be well on your game to get to these.

Q. As you said, it's tough; it's very pretty as well. There will, no doubt, host a lot of (indiscernible) this week as it always does. How important to the next three weeks is this week compared to the rest as far as where way guys are trending and how they perform?
THOMAS BJØRN: Not really, in the sense that, you know, the French Open, the Irish Open, Scottish Open, the Open Championship, PGA Championship, the World Golf Championship, they're all on their own merit extremely important golf events for these players. You know, they all (indiscernible) (wind). Those guys that are playing in those venues need to go out and take those moments where they've got an opportunity. Is this golf course, do I look at it in any different way? No, because the guy that wins this week might not be in form come September, and the guys that are not in form this week might be in great form come September. And that is a very important thing for golfers is to be in form and they can play any golf course in the world. So, yeah, you look at it, but it's -- you know, it's a component now of a lot of components, to what you find in September. So it's not all about the competition.

Q. (Indiscernible).
THOMAS BJØRN: I think the golf course is -- it's in a good place at the moment. I feel comfortable with the way it is. We have not that much input in it. I've always said that this golf course sets up in a certain way, and over the last three or four years there's been a lot of work that's gone on on this golf course to redo it and prepare for a Ryder Cup. I feel like we're in a position now with the golf course where it has had the ability to grow back to where it was five, six, seven years ago. So the golf course is fantastic. It looks really, really good. I'm sure it will look very similar when we come to the Ryder Cup in September. But at the moment it's pretty perfect for what this golf course is. That's pretty much the way everybody wants to see it, and I think the players are happy. They'll find it difficult, but we always find it as a tough golf course to play. So I think in general all the players are happy with where the golf course is.

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