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October 19, 2003

Thomas Bjorn


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thomas, once again, as we have said all week, many thanks for coming in. Congratulations on a good week's play, but commiserations on today. Your thoughts on the final and the way it all turned out for you.

THOMAS BJORN: There's times in your golf career that you get a chance to do something that's a bit more than the normal thing and I had my chance today. I didn't play my best golf. I told you yesterday, if I don't play my best, I'm up against one of the finest, and then it's just not going to be good enough and it wasn't going to be good enough.

To be honest, when I holed that eagle putt on 12 this afternoon, that's actually the only putt that I can remember I holed today. It was just too tough and it's as simple as that. It's been a good week and it's been a long week. I've done a lot of good things this week, just not enough today, and I knew that. I knew that if I didn't play -- I probably didn't have to play my absolute best today to win, but I had to play well. Ernie played solid all day long and didn't make any mistakes. It just wasn't good enough. I need to look at it and say, what do I need to improve to get in situations like this and be a bigger threat than I was today. All in all I've still done a lot of good things. It's a shame for me because as I told you earlier in the week it's been a season of near misses and this will go down with the rest of them.

Again it's no shame to lose to go this guy. They don't come any better than this and he had the experience in this tournament and he knows how to handle this tournament very well and you could see that out there. He never got too hard on himself. Things were getting tough on him this morning at one stage and he just kept grinding it out. You've got to get momentum in match-play and I never really got any momentum going for a long stretch. I had three or four holes where I got momentum this morning, but I never got it for a long stretch and then he's just too tough a cookie to get through.

That's the way it is. I had a good week. In a lot of ways I had a good week. I had a good week because I played well. I felt like I raised my game in situations where I needed to.

Thanks to you guys, I had a lot of good press this week, which has been very nice to see. I mean, I felt like I've been treated very well with a lot of respect from the press this week, and that, I feel, is a good thing. So I've come a long way this week with a lot of things and a lot of support from the crowds. It just wasn't all the way up there today and it wasn't enough to beat Ernie Els.

Q. Have you won anything for holes in one in the past?

THOMAS BJORN: I don't think I've won anything for any of mine. I've had a few. I probably had three or four, five in competitions. I have probably ten now in all.

Q. You mentioned playing together with Ernie --

THOMAS BJORN: Just seemed to swap it around every day.

Q. What was it like playing with a close friend, what was that like?

THOMAS BJORN: Well, it's odd in the way that when we play together normally in stroke-play. We want each other to do quite well because we see each other so often and it's easier to be around each other when we are doing so well. It's like other athletes that it's a bit easier when we're going the right direction. We want each other to do well. And then to go out on a big occasion like this and have to face each other in that way. It's difficult. But, I mean, you've got to put those things aside. We both want to win golf tournaments, we both want to do well and we did.

Q. Do you think Ernie is the only one that can challenge Tiger or perhaps be better --

THOMAS BJORN: He's definitely the only one that can threaten him. I wouldn't argue against but that's a matter of opinion. It's a dangerous route for me to go down to offer my opinion on that. If I said that he could be better then I'll have Tiger on my back. And if I said he couldn't then I'll have Ernie on my back, so I'm in a no-win situation. So I'll leave it up to you guys to decide.

Q. Do you think increasing the field to 16 would encourage more people to play?

THOMAS BJORN: This tournament has a lot of tradition in it. There's a big case to go to 16 players. But there's also a case that the guys that get seeded in this tournament deserves to be seeded because they have done a little bit more than the rest of the guys here.

There's a case for both. But, I mean, that's, again, something that I -- that has nothing to do with me. I need to play well to get here. If it's 12 or 16 players, I can only try and get here, but it's or other people to decide.

Yeah, it helps to come to a pressure situation like this where you have got a couple of -- a few less rounds under your belt and you feel a little bit more fresh.

I said to you yesterday, you should get through this Sunday on adrenaline more than anything. I didn't feel as tired today as I did yesterday.

Q. What do you think you need to do to improve?

THOMAS BJORN: Pretty much just a little bit on everything. I don't know much to be one of the best, but I need just a little bit in every category. And I know my best in every category is right up there with the best in the world, but you just need to be a little bit better, more consistent consistently. I don't need a lot. I certainly don't feel like that.

Q. Do you play social golf with Ernie very often?

THOMAS BJORN: Not very often. Not very often. We do, we spend a an awful lot of time together.

Q. Do you find yourself more exhausted physically or mentally?

THOMAS BJORN: Mentally, I would say. There's nothing like it, I mean, being on, on every golf shot. As I said to you yesterday, it's a question of getting momentum. You can let momentum go on the first hole in the morning, while you play in stroke-play you're building your way into rounds. But this, you have to be there all the time for 36 holes a day and be very focused, so you don't let momentum go the other guys way.

That's where this becomes mentally a very tough task. And I know I'm a fairly strong mentally player. I've handled pressure situations quite well, I know that. But this was a new one for me because there's obviously a little bit of physical tiredness in it, as well. Then it becomes mentally even tougher to be on top all the time when you start feeling just a little bit sore and a little bit tired in your body. If you can't handle these situations, you don't want to be among the best. That's what it's all about. You want to be in this tournament, in all of the other championships. You want to be right there where it's happening.

Again, I've been there where it's happening but just not pulled it off.

End of FastScripts.

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