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October 16, 2003

Thomas Bjorn


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thomas, congratulations. Very well played. To come back and finish like that you must be absolutely delighted.

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, I felt I was starting to -- I felt like I was getting my game together on the back nine this morning, and then I had hit two really good shots on 17 and I was a bit unlucky and then lost the hole and then I hit a poor tee shot on 18. All of the sudden I went from having been 3-down to 1-down and then 3-down. I went in at lunch and I just sat down with Jos and Billy for five minutes and we just talked through, the way I was playing. All I needed to do was just be a little bit more focused on my own game than what was going on around me, and then go out.

Then I got a good start this afternoon. And it got very, very difficult. I've not played this golf course when it's been this difficult, I have to say. It's very windy out there and we all know when it's windy around here the wind comes from all directions. You can never feel it. The greens are very springy. I got a little bit of help early on this afternoon from Len and that got me going and I felt I was always on top.

I've played this golf course very differently here than I do when I play the PGA. I hit drivers on a couple of holes that I wouldn't hit drivers on. I hit driver down 6 which is definitely not a driver hole. I hit driver down 16 when I normally don't hit driver. I played a little bit differently but it's played very difficult. I was very happy with what I did. So I went out there and made no mistakes and left it there, all of the pressure on him, and he wasn't playing obviously his best golf and he was left with a lot of 8- to 12-footers to halve holes, and we all know in match-play that's only going to last so long.

Q. You said you had to become more focused, in what way?

THOMAS BJORN: I was just playing match-play instead of just playing -- I think when you go out and play when the conditions are that difficult, just go out and really stay focused on playing your golf. Because when conditions are difficult and you start focusing on what the other guy is doing, you don't stay with your own game. And you really need to stay with your game when it's as difficult out there. Pars become, on a lot of holes, very good scores.

I think this morning I was a bit -- paid too much attention to how the match was going and how I was doing against Len instead of getting my game, just get the ball in the hole. There was a couple of times this morning where I let some holes slip that I shouldn't have done.

Q. Which of the three of you came to that conclusion?

THOMAS BJORN: It was a combination. We all know -- I obviously know how I felt and Billy sees things out there and then we leave it to the wise man to decide what we have to do for the afternoon.

Q. Your determination showed on the first drive of the afternoon?

THOMAS BJORN: Neither have I. I had 100 yards to the hole. You get that hole downwind, and all of a sudden everybody is hitting driver off that tee and we all know, you try and leave it on top. And when it's a 3-iron or 4-iron off the tee, to leave it on top, I've been thinking this week because of the wind being the same every day, you get a good one going, you can get it all the way down the block. And I had one of those that just went. I was on the upslope there. Yeah, it's one of those things. But technology has changed this game. Those cross-bunkers on 9 are in play off the tee and we were 40 to 50 yards short. So the times are just changing a bit.

Q. How much does five minutes with Jos cost?

THOMAS BJORN: It's worth every penny. Every word. (Laughs).

Q. How did you refocus again after losing the fourth?

THOMAS BJORN: I was crossed in the sense that I had got such a good start and all of a sudden, I threw it away on 4. I threw away a hole. It was a tournament that I hit good shots on 5 and 6 and I kept plodding away and that was -- I never got down on myself all day long, even when I was 3-down this morning. I kept believing that I could turn this around. Because as I said before, I felt I had the upper hand tee-to-green and I putted better this morning than this afternoon. And Len putted well this morning and bad this afternoon.

In match-play, the outcome of a close match is how you put, and it's better to putt well in the afternoon than it is in the morning, because you feel better about everything and things went my way. This afternoon he hits a good drive off 11 in the middle of a divot and then hits in a bunker plugged and gives the hole away. Some things just become simple. I had the upper hand playing, but I also got handed a few things this afternoon.

Q. Did you feel like you had the home support you talked of?

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, I actually did. Walking off 16, someone said, "You could almost be a crowd favorite this week." I've played Monty and I've played Lee in this tournament and I know how difficult that can be, because it is, it helps having the crowds with you. I certainly felt that today. I felt like I live here.

Q. Do you feel the seedings have favoured you?

THOMAS BJORN: I'm playing an awful good player tomorrow. I'd like to focus on that first of all. I'm playing one of the finest players in the world tomorrow and that's very important to play focused on that.

We get through tomorrow we'll focus on what we're playing in the semis. There's no bad players in the field and I'm playing one of the finest of them all tomorrow. It would be nice. I'm going to go out and try and win tomorrow. That's what I'm here to do. I'm not looking at it any different way. I know what I'm up against and I know I can beat Mike, but I also know at the moment and at this point in time more than not, he's going to beat me the way he's playing and I know that. But I've got to go out there and take my chances. There's a reason I am where I am in the World Rankings and there's a reason he is where he is. It's as simple as that. I know my best is good enough to beat him.

Q. Do you feel you are getting to grips with the course?

THOMAS BJORN: Like it when it's tougher. If you asked me if I would shoot 20-under over four days, it's still difficult. But it's tough conditions. I'm swinging the club well at the moment and I'm striking the ball well. I've got control over me shots and that's -- when you're swinging, that's what you need. So I'll find my way around this golf course at the moment, but if it's dead calm, I'll still find it difficult to get around this golf course. I don't know why.

Q. Were you surprised not to be conceded the short putt on the 16th this morning?

THOMAS BJORN: Do you know what I was surprised about? In match-play you sometimes give someone a little bit borderline and then you leave one, and then all of a sudden you haven't had one all day and you get one all of a sudden from a foot or something. It was the simplest one I've had all day. There was no break in it. It was dead flat. That's why I was surprised. I had a wonderful tee shot down 17. I had a great second shot and it just bounced off the right hand side of the green.

So, no, in that sense, it didn't affect me at all. There's one thing that you learn throughout the years, instead of getting worried about things like this, you worry about just get the ball in the hole and then get on to the next hole.

Q. Has the Ryder Cup experience helped you?

THOMAS BJORN: Definitely the more match-play you play, when it's very, very tough, the easier you find it when you're up against, in a man-to-man situation. There is no experience like the Ryder Cup. There's no tougher competition in the world. So when you get in these situations, it is probably the one that get the closest because it lasts 36 holes. It's very easy to get in at lunch and feel like the day is over and then you have to restart again. You've got to, when you stand on this first tee, realize that you have 36 holes ahead of you, not two 18s. It's a long, long day.

Q. Did Jos use colourful language?

THOMAS BJORN: No, he was very calm, for him.

Q. Did you think about the match with Justin Leonard?

THOMAS BJORN: No. It's a long time ago and I can hardly remember it.

I was very calm this morning. Jos and I actually have a very good working relationship. He can be very hard on some people sometimes. I haven't experienced it ... yet.

Q. How would you rate Len's play today, did it bring you down?

THOMAS BJORN: No, not at all. I thought he played quite well this morning. I thought he played quite well this morning. I thought he putted a bit better than I did.

No, I actually thought the golf in the match was pretty decent throughout the whole day. It wasn't brilliant there wasn't anything more -- there was a couple shots here and there but not over that many holes. I thought his golf was pretty steady on. I mean, you can see why what he's good at. He's good at hitting fairways. He's good at hitting greens and he putts well. That's going to make you a lot of money in this game.

Q. Why were you losing focus then?

THOMAS BJORN: I was just concentrating too much about the game I was playing against him instead of concentrating on hitting my golf and getting my golf ball in the hole. There's a couple of -- I made a couple of bad mistakes this morning. I made one on 7 putting from nowhere and I just made a couple -- 7 and 8 were pretty much, were really my bad mistakes. That was a situation where I like to be playing very well -- played the first six holes very well and then I lost 7, 8, 9. You're like I'm playing really good golf and now I'm 3-down. I made a couple of mental errors. I wasn't focusing enough on what I had to do.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Thomas, well done. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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