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January 29, 2004

Thomas Bjorn


GORDON SIMPSON: Thomas, 8-under, wonderful way to start your year, one off the course record here. Just give us your quick thoughts on how it went.

THOMAS BJORN: It's hard when you come out. I've been hitting the ball really, really well on the driving range the last couple of weeks when I've been working on my game. When you get in, you don't really know. And I just got off to a fantastic start, 5-under through seven, without really doing much.

It was a wonderful start, and all of the confidence you're supposed to have when you're hitting the ball well on the range just starts, it just comes up in you and a lot of times you build up false confidence at the beginning of the season because you think you're hitting it well, but you're really only doing driving range stuff.

It was just nice to go out there. I holed a couple of putts and just hit a lot of wonderful shots on the first nine holes. Then it was just a question of really trying to keep going and there were a couple of loose ones in the end, but you expect it when it's your first round of golf in eight weeks. You expect to hit a couple of loose ones, and in the end it was just a question of really getting the round over with. And I was fortunate enough to come up with the two putts on the last two holes after hitting some poor shots.

But that's what you expect and I'm just really happy that the hard work I've done this winter has gotten me off to a good start. But it could have been on any given day; it might as well be a 69 or a 68 and that's just the way it is. It turned out really well for me as well. I holed some good putts at some good times, and I hit three really poor shots, but other than that, it was very solid and I'm really happy with this start to the season.

Q. When you are 5-under after seven, is the temptation to hang on or is it to say "let's get to 10-under"?

THOMAS BJORN: At this time of the year, it's just take it here and get in the clubhouse and be happy with that.

I was playing so well that I felt like there was going to come a couple of more. But basically, if you are two months into a season, yeah, you would keep going. And on a golf course like this, if you're playing well, you're going to have a lot of wedges in your hand on this golf course, and that's -- then you would keep going.

But today it was a bit more than just try and get it in the clubhouse. And fortunately I made a couple of birdies right after I made a bogey on 12, and that just kind of settled me and then I felt comfortable all day. But it's still in the aim and everything, you have to be very focused on what you're doing. It doesn't come as naturally at this time of the year. I felt good today.

Q. Was there a bit of frustration from Shaun not playing so well and watching you?

THOMAS BJORN: It's hard, isn't it? It's hard when you go out and Shaun birdies the first two holes and I'm 5-under through seven and he hits 3-putts on the first five or six putts that just cannot miss the hole and they do. It's difficult when you are after -- I was nine shots ahead of him after nine or ten holes. That's going to be difficult, too, because he didn't play that badly. It didn't go his way. And then it's obviously going to be frustrating to be out there, especially watching guys hole putts, as well.

It's difficult, but, I mean, he's been around long enough to know that's the way the game goes. It's just the way it is. No, it's frustrating, obviously to be out there when you're not doing much wrong and don't get the score you probably deserve.

Q. What was your last event and what are you normally like after a long break?

THOMAS BJORN: My last event was Hong Kong. And very rarely do I ply well after a long break. It normally takes me a little while to get into it. I mean, I played one round of golf. We've got three rounds to go here. I may get judgment on Sunday how the week is gone. It's nice to get a good start. It's normally not my strong side. I mean, I normally have to play golf tournaments to get competitive.

I'm a little bit surprised about today but I'm obviously happy about it.

Q. You said that there is good reward for hard work in the off-season, but have you done in the off-season? Did you do anything different?

THOMAS BJORN: I've done a lot of gym work over the last three or four weeks. I did it nine days ever really, really hard work with Pete in Dubai. We actually figured out at the end of last year when I wanted to do with my golf swing and I made a decision that I want to swing the golf club the way I want to do it and not the way books and everybody tells you you're supposed to swing it like.

I've got faults in my golf swing but I'm going to play with those faults instead of trying to fight them all the time. And then hopefully by not fighting my golf swing, maybe it will just get a little bit better and as long as I get stronger physically, then my golf swing will get better. I mean, it's pretty orthodox, my golf swing, and that's why it looks really, really good. We got into a situation where we didn't think so much about the technique as we normally do and I have -- I mean, I have a video of my golf swing in Dubai where, I mean, it was the way I had dreamt all my life of swinging the golf club and it's nice to see that on video and that gives you confidence.

We've just been a little bit -- going a little bit easier on the technique now and not being so hung up on it and trying to make me physically stronger a little bit and hopefully my golf swing will fall into place that way.

Q. What was the flaw you were fighting, the main one?

THOMAS BJORN: I tend to just take it a little bit too much on the inside on the backswing, and then my golf swing tips a little bit on the top and it just comes across the head a little bit. And then from there it's very easy to get ahead of the golf ball and then I'm fitting it and then it's left to my hands.

If I get stronger, especially if I get stronger in my shoulders and especially my right shoulder which has been very weak over the last couple of years, then I've got a much, much better chance of keeping the club on line.

I'm feeling the benefits of it without saying -- three or four weeks of really hard gym work is not going to give a massive difference, but I feel stronger out there. And coming off the golf course, I don't feel as tired as I normally would in this heat, and I haven't been in heat for quite a while. I feel good about coming off the golf course and I feel ready for tomorrow, as well.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thanks very much. Well played.

End of FastScripts.

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