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June 19, 2019

Thomas Bjorn

Munich, Germany

TOM CARLISLE: Thomas, returning to the BMW International Open, it's an event you've obviously won twice and you have very happy memories of this event.

THOMAS BJØRN: Yeah, I said it last night at the dinner. When you play as long as I do, you grow relationships, don't you, with places and golf courses and obviously coming here late 90s and very quickly figured this is a place I get on quite well with, and then I was fortunate to win it in 2000, 2002. But it's, yeah, it's one of those that always -- especially when it's in Munich, it always gets a tick for me.

I enjoyed the years in Cologne that it's been there, but I had a strong -- I always believe that golf tournaments that has a good history, and they seem to have a belonging in one place, and this tournament belongs here, even though we've been in Cologne for a couple of times. But I think the players enjoy it. The golf course has changed quite dramatically over the years, extensions to the golf courses, now new greens.

But it's just a home, and you get that BMW feeling, as well, when you're here because it's their home. It's a great event to come to, and I enjoy being here, but yeah, I've got great memories from on the golf course, as well, which is nice. But it's a long time now. As I said to somebody over on range, it was almost in a different millennium, so that puts it a bit in perspective.

Q. Looking at the leaderboard, Bernhard Langer is second to you on both those occasions. What's that like when you're going up against the home favorite?
THOMAS BJØRN: Tough but a great challenge. Bernhard won every tournament in Germany but this one. So that was always a thing when you got there on Saturday and that kind of was evolving, and obviously you've got to -- in those environments, you've got to stand up and be very focussed and concentrated on what you do, but I've always had -- especially at that time, had that feeling that I look forward to that challenge, and the result will be whatever the result will be. But you enjoy those moments because those moments always presents itself in big events, and when you get to the majors, if you were going to go up against Tiger in a major or if you were going to go up against some of the best players, you were always going to be the one that the crowds weren't pulling for.

To have those moments where you stand up and try and live that; when you go back to around 2000 and Bernhard Langer in Germany, that was a big name and that was tough, but it was fun, a lot of if un.

Q. Returning to the present, it's your first appearance since your injury. What's it like getting back into the groove and preparing for a tournament?
THOMAS BJØRN: Yeah, tough. You just lose that kind of feeling of, you know, normally you can hit balls for three or four hours and you can kind of do all your things. Now after 40 minutes, you're struggling a bit. I have been sitting down a lot to just recuperate, really.

It's been tough. I'm looking forward to it. I have no -- literally, no expectations for this. I enjoy being here, and Marco -- Marco called me a few weeks ago and said, what do you think, and I said, well, I'll do anything, because it's here. If it had been anywhere else, I would probably have spent another week trying to get working on things.

But I said to Marco, "I want to be here." Also, that BMW relationship, that is so strong through The Ryder Cup, and so I felt it was important that I was here, and then we'll see how the golf goes. You never know. Golf is a funny game.

Q. Talking about relationships, being away from the golf courses playing, you've taken on an ambassadorial role, you went to Made in Denmark and you had the book launch. What's that been like? Has that been a new experience or building on previous experiences?
THOMAS BJØRN: It's interesting. The book is interesting because, I mean, I know it's the first time I'm out on Tour, and there's a few players that's been reading and been looking at it, and there's a lot that don't want to read and don't want to, and that's pretty much what I expected from it.

This is a very critical environment. I think a lot of people around golf will quite enjoy reading the book and sit down, and Keith certainly enjoyed reading it and passed it on to members of staff, I think. I think that environment -- the players are more like, they would be -- because it touches a lot on your weaknesses as a human being through sports. Some wants to know everything and some doesn't want to know anything at all. So it's kind of a juggle between the players.

Getting quite good feedback. That's been interesting, having those conversations because they lead to -- what happens in the book to what it leads to is a greater conversation about what sports people go through, and I there's a big tuggle in the world of sport about if you're a sportsman and you're a successful one, you're not really allowed to have an opinion on anything. It's a bit like, you do your sport.

I think that then drives you away from the human aspect of dealing with it, and especially young players I think have that kind of feeling; that they are not allowed to do anything and say anything; they can just play golf. But if you go in the tour more, you have stuff that you need to deal with; that needs to get out and there needs to be systems that are there to help because in the end, they are humans more than they are sports people.

Living with pressure and living with the performance pressure that sports people do, that can sometimes lead you into some pretty bad places if you go through a bad spell.

So to try and deal with that, which has been interesting to have those conversations and hopefully it will help a few guys to, hopefully it will make people understand -- more people understand what sports people go through and hopefully help a few sports people knowing that they don't deal with these things on their own. They are common in everyone that performs at a high level in sport, so there is a way to deal with it and gives a bit of hope that sometimes at the end of a very dark tunnel -- that's been fun -- it's been fun to deal with, but also it raises some big, serious questions.

I went to Denmark. I'm a strong believer that that golf tournament does so much for the sport in our country, and just because you can't play doesn't mean that you shouldn't be there. So we did a lot of other things during the week, which is nice. It was good to be there. But obviously it puts a very different perspective on what you do, because when you go to your home event playing, you're very focused and you're very short with your time, and all of a sudden you feel like you're at an event where you have all the time in the world. That was a different, but a good perspective to get, as well.

But I'm enjoying things at the moment. Just looking forward to playing.

Q. Speaking of the youngsters on Tour, in the group with Erik van Rooyen and Kurt Kitayama, those guys are very much guys to look out for on The European Tour, and Kurt has won twice this year and Erik is finding himself in these positions. Must be interesting for you seeing guys come from other parts of the world and try to make a name for themselves on Tour?
THOMAS BJØRN: It's fun to watch. I would play golf, and kind of, this is my world. I don't kind of look at, this is what I need to do this week to win. I look at, this is what I want to do, and wherever that brings me, brings me. But in that world, you can kind of watch all the good and all the bad that comes with professional sports people and kind of get an idea of what you probably were like yourself when you were 25, and there's some good moments in that. There's probably also a few moments where you think, oh, I recognise that and that was probably not the best way of dealing with things.

But you know, then you see something where you try and -- it's helped them along and give them a little bit of a word of encouragement when things are not great, and then, you know, I enjoy watching young players win and do well to see how they then develop as people with it because they are all different.

It's quite fun to watch.

Q. After being The Ryder Cup captain last year and all those preparations, watching the players who are involved or could be involved, then having won The Ryder Cup in this impressive fashion and then kind of having finished the job, how do you feel now? It's several months after this; how do you find yourself, because you have to readjust a little bit I think?
THOMAS BJØRN: It's good in most parts. There's also certain parts it's tough because your life is so hectic and so full on, especially the last six months into the captaincy is very demanding, so you're full on, and now it's more a quiet period. That can be -- it's great at times but it's also quite hard at times because you're not involved in anything. You're not involved in a bigger discussion.

You kind of just go back and sit down -- but then you try and find your own way with what you want to do, and also with Ryder Cup, I felt like I needed three months, but it's turned out to be more like a year of just kind of sit back and see where life takes me because it's going to take a bit of time.

Q. But it's quite refreshing I think after all this?
THOMAS BJØRN: Definitely. But I like having to work towards, because I've done that all my life as a player, and then as a captain. So now it's a bit like, what am I going to do now, what is it that I'm working for, and I'm trying to find my way with that, if it's still playing and looking to a seniors career or doing something -- it will always be within golf but doing something completely different. But I need probably 2019 to kind of pass by and then we'll make some decisions.

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