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March 7, 2003

Thomas Bjorn


GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, everyone. Well, it's a happy smiling Thomas Bjorn.

Thomas, a round of 66 and back to where you want to be.

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, there's no doubt when you sit down and analyze yourself and analyze the way you're playing the game and you come to a crossroads like I did and said, well, now this is -- I'm going to go this way and I want to play this game, I want to get back to where I was in 2000, early part of 2001. Sometimes just thinking it and saying it makes the world of difference.

I really feel like this week I have just gone out, played my game, not bothered about anybody else, anything else, just taken it one shot at a time, concentrate on focusing one shot at a time. And it just goes to show that this game, you can only play your own golf and not really bother too much about anyone else.

So I think two rounds is not turning a corner, but it's certainly two big steps in the right direction.

GORDON SIMPSON: You and Woosie seemed to be feeding off one another. He finished with two birdies, but I think you just kept nudging each other forward, I think.

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, it's always the case when you get out there with somebody that's playing really well and you're comfortable with your own game; you seem to just go along together and do good things together. Especially when you have a person that you get on well with off the golf course. Woosie and I have had some great time together on and off the golf course. We just seem to enjoy each other's company and we certainly stepped up both our games today to take advantage of the good conditions. Certainly, we are both in with a shot at it now.

Q. (Woosie got a driver from you yesterday?)

THOMAS BJORN: He did. I might have it back on Sunday. Yeah, he was not 100% happy with the distance on his drives, so I had a driver to kind of figure what it was like.

You still have to hit the golf shots. The golf shots doesn't do it themselves; you have to hit the golf shots. I'm sure that that driver didn't have much to do with the way he played.

Q. Did he get an increase in distance?

THOMAS BJORN: He hit a couple good ones, and especially in the end, he got a few out there and got more comfortable.

Q. Did he hit many shots in practice first?

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, but I have no idea. I talked to him about it and saw he hit a couple of drives, and it's giving him what he wants and it's giving him confidence, as well.

Q. Woosie said the shotmaking has gone from the game. You just need to rip it out there.

THOMAS BJORN: It's obviously a problem at the moment that some of this new equipment that's coming out, especially the golf balls that are coming out. They are so beneficial to the guys that are long hitters that have the big clubhead speed. So, the gap is widening. So it's actually not a big benefit for everybody. It's a benefit for the guys that hit the ball a long way.

At the Challenge Match on Tuesday, it was very obvious that Darren and Ernie, who have always been known as long hitters, have a huge advantage now in the distance they hit the ball. But, golf is still about chipping and putting, and you still have to get the ball in the hole. But it's obviously easier to hit 9-irons and 6-irons to the greens, especially with the firmness in today's golf.

But I still need all of the qualities of the game. There's been an awful lot of long hitters in the game in the past who have never done well, so you still have to have the whole package.

When you look at those two, they are two of the most talented players there are in the game of golf. They have kept it up with the new golf ball, but it just -- the way some people used to play just doesn't exist anymore, where it was about hitting fairways all the time so you could hit a lot of greens. Now you need to have the length but you also need to have the flare.

I think we need to start looking at the golf ball maybe more than the drivers and how do we limit it now, because we can't keep going down a track where there's three or four new tees on the golf course and we come back next year and they have to move more and more tees. Eventually we are going to run out of space to lengthen the golf balls. We have to start looking at the equipment.

Q. Would you like to see The European Tour take the lead?

THOMAS BJORN: I think this is a job for the R&A and USGA. The European Tour can't really do it because it has such a commercial effect on the golf ball manufacturers; that it has to come from the governing body of the game. It can't come from the European Tour itself.

Q. Tim Finchem is threatening to draw the line with the golf ball.

THOMAS BJORN: When we discuss it, people say, well, where do you draw the line? Well, we've drawn the line with the drivers, why can't we draw the line with the golf ball?

Eventually we will go there. Some day we will go there. We might not go there now and say: This is the line, this is what we can do; this is what you are allowed to do. They are not going to sell less golf balls because of them drawing the line. There's going to be as many people playing the game and as many people hitting golf balls all over the place. They are still going to hit a lot of golf balls. It's obvious they want to develop these things so they get the edge over each other.

I'm sure they will find ways to increase the distance.

End of FastScripts....

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