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October 18, 2003

Thomas Bjorn


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thomas, many congratulations. Thank you again for coming in. There's a new trophy this year for the HSBC World Match-Play Championship. Perhaps there should be a Wentworth Estate Trophy, as well considering who you are playing in tomorrow's final?

THOMAS BJORN: Tomorrow is obviously going to be a strange day probably for both of us in the sense that we are good friends and we see each other a lot outside the golf course, and especially our wives and our children see each other a lot. I think we are both going to put that aside and go out and do the best we can. But it's a strange one when you are two guys up against each other and you know each other well.

I'm also very well aware of what I'm up against as a golfer. He's won this tournament four times, and I'm very well aware of what I have to do tomorrow and I certainly have to play better than I did today. I'm sure he will be very confident with what he did today. He was 4-down and then all of the sudden turned it around very quickly. That just shows his desire and determination. I know what I'm going to face tomorrow and hopefully I'll be up for the task. And all of my best golf gets very best close to Ernie's best golf, but his consistency is better than mine and I know that. But I'll be up for it tomorrow and I'm just looking forward to it.

SCOTT CROCKETT: You said today was going to be a good match, too, and you must be delighted to come through and the way it finished.

THOMAS BJORN: I had all of the opportunities to close this match out on the back nine, making 5 on 12 with an 8-iron in my hand where I got a chance to really put some pressure on him; and then make a big mistake on 14 after he's made a mistake. So I had all of the opportunities it close the match out early, and it got just a little bit more tight than I would have liked.

In the end I stood on that 18 tee and made a good decision hitting 3-wood and put myself in a position where I hit the second shot first, put it in the middle of the green and the pressure was on him to make three. I made some good decisions. It's been a long week so far and it's going to be a long day tomorrow, but hopefully just get through it on adrenaline tomorrow.

Q. Are you more mentally tired or physically?

THOMAS BJORN: It's a bit of both. Today I felt tired after 18 holes today. I said to Billy after 18 holes, "You need to carry me through this," because I feel -- I felt really -- and especially on the front nine, I felt really, really tired and then it got tight, and everything started -- the system started to go at full go again.

Then I was pretty good on the back nine but coming in here now, I played a lot of golf over the last three days and I certainly am feeling it. But a good, nice rest and I'll get through it tomorrow.

Q. Is this the most tiring week on Tour?

THOMAS BJORN: There's one that's more tiring than this. Not this year but there's certainly one week that's more tiring than this, but this is very tiring. But playing the Ryder Cup is a completely different. It's the hardest week you'll ever imagine, but this comes close.

We're not used to playing 36 holes a day, and I think you use so much energy to get you threw 18 holes and you're used to getting yourself through 18 holes with all of the energy you have. And all of a sudden here you just have to reserve a bit of energy for the afternoon, and that's a difficult scenario for all of the players.

I think you'll find that everybody that plays here the first time, if they get through the first round, they find it difficult, especially on the second day. And I knew this was going to be difficult day for me, the third day. I think I'm going to be fine tomorrow. There's a lot of things at stake tomorrow, so I think that can carry me through. But I knew this was going to be a difficult day for me and I'm even more pleased that I got through it.

Q. Did Billy help you through the second nine?

THOMAS BJORN: He's a good guy, Billy, and caddies don't come better than that. He's been there a million times before. He's been in this tournament with Seve and he's been with all the players that he's caddied for at the highest level, I mean, Billy is 37 years old and on seven Ryder Cups. He's been around and he knows what needs to be done. He was very good today and his experience came through today and that's why I pay him the money I pay him.

Q. Anything specific?

THOMAS BJORN: No, not really. Any time I got a couple up this afternoon, he was really on me to stay focused for the next few holes, because that's when you get an opportunity to let one go and then all of the sudden it gets so tight again. But you run -- and I let a couple go, but he kept -- it's like a good jockey.

Q. You said you have to play better tomorrow - what exactly do you have to do?

THOMAS BJORN: Too many destructive things today. I gave too many holes away with poor tee shots. When you come up against a player like that, you're going to get punished. If I play the way did I yesterday, then I've got a very, very good chance tomorrow.

Q. Just don't ever give up?

THOMAS BJORN: That's what I said yesterday. That was the determination of doing the right things and keep him having to hole putts to win holes. That was easier this morning than this afternoon when you're fresh in your head and you're giving it your full.

That's also important for me in the way that I felt he was giving away things that he shouldn't be giving away, and I'm sure he felt the same way. When he was 4-down he was also getting a bit -- but then he finished the round off with three birdies. All credit to him, he kept himself alive when he could be dying very quickly.

Q. It was said before that Ben Curtis was just a one trick pony?

THOMAS BJORN: No. Ben is a good player. He's got a great career ahead of him and he's going to win more golf tournaments. It's a difficult one for him. It's going to take him some time, but he's that good of a player that he's going to come strong. But it's going to take a little bit of time for him to actually face all of these things that he's facing. His career has taken a massive change. The other guys who win major championships, they build up to it, but this guy has just gone straight into it. That's a difficult one but he's a good enough player to win golf tournaments.

Q. Who will Jos be backing tomorrow?

THOMAS BJORN: I think Jos is going to stay very quiet tomorrow.

That's a difficult one for Jos, as well. But both Ernie and I know what we are working on and we pretty much know what he would be saying. I'm sure he's sitting home somewhere counting. (Laughter.)

SCOTT CROCKETT: On the thought of Jos counting his money, we'll call it a day. Well done Thomas. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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