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May 10, 2006

Thomas Bjorn


Q. What are your expectations coming into the week, defending your title?

THOMAS BJORN: Well, you're not going to win a golf tournament based on something that happened 12 months ago. Well, you know, anytime you go in to defend is nice but sometimes you can forget that there's a job to be done.

I've got a big job to do for the rest of the season, you know, and now it really starts. It gets very important, for a lot of reasons, but it gets important for the reasons that I get a form built up for the next three major championships. And that's the major focus for me at the moment to get some good golf under my belt. While in Spain, I played well there. I need to just try and carry that through the whole summer and get myself through major championships as good as possible.

Q. As you say, it is a big time of year and you have had a frustrating time with injuries, you finished well at The Masters, you played well in Spain, do you think you're over that now, you've turned the corner?

THOMAS BJORN: Golfing wise I'm over the worst of it. Injury wise, it's unfortunately one of these things that can happen all the time so you never know what's around the corner.

I feel better and better for every day that goes at the moment. Spain was probably the first week I played completely pain free for a week, so that was a good thing. So from that perspective, things are going in the right direction.

But I just take it one day at a time at the moment and try and focus on my golf, not overdo it, but do the amount that keeps improving me. I seem to have found the right way of doing it now. I don't work maybe as hard as I used to on the range, but I certainly get the benefits of my work. You know, things are improving dramatically all the time, which is a good thing.

Q. Was it a case of a lack of tournament sharpness that counted against you on the last day in Spain?

THOMAS BJORN: In all fairness, we played on a golf course where somebody was going to miss putts coming in on the last few holes on that Sunday, and I did. But I never really played poorly on Sunday. One of the good things for me on Sunday that I took away from there was, that I was a good bit behind and I stood on the first tee and said, oh, all right, we're going to go out and try to chase this down and I birdied five of the first six holes.

When you look back, you have to take positives out and that is a great positive. And I ran into a 4 putt on the eighth. No matter how nervous you are, no matter how you're feeling, you don't usually four putt especially after that kind of start. It just happened and it just kind of shook things up a little bit. And then in the end, you know, I lost a little bit of confidence with the putter. I putted fine all week. I lost a little bit of confidence.

When I stood on the 18th green, I was two shots behind, I was never winning that golf tournament. And I missed the putt and all of a sudden it was a putt to get into playoff. Things just shook up a little bit and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it, but all through the week I played really good golf and that was a positive. It's one the things that I'm looking for at the moment, positive feelings on the golf course, positive golf; that you stand up and hit golf shots when you need to and I did all week. So all in all it was a good week. The result was just not what I wanted.

Q. Coming back to a place like this must make you think about the Ryder cUP?

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, I think a lot about the Ryder Cup when I'm here, Ryder Cup 2006. I said for a long time now, we've got 20 guys that can make that team. No matter what 12 it's going to be, we are going to be standing very strong in Ireland.

I want to be a part of a Ryder Cup Team, but for some reason that if I'm not a part of it, something's been missing in my golf. I feel I'm one of the 12 best players in Europe. I feel that with my golf, I give something to the team. So for those reasons, I know that if I do all the right things that I normally do, well, then I should be a part of this team.

But, you know, I've had a lot of injuries, I'm falling a good bit behind in the standings. And if it's not to be, it's not to be. I'm just trying to get some good golf in over the summer and make the team or hopefully the golf will be good enough that the captain will look nicely at me, but you can only do that. I have absolutely no worries about European golf going into that Ryder Cup. As I said before, it's between 20 guys and they will all do well. The first time I played in the Ryder Cup, I would say about being one of the weak players on the team, we only had eight or nine guys good enough to take them on and we still won. European golf is looking very good, no matter who plays.

Q. I know you were part of the backroom staff in 2004. But I guess you want it even more to be out there?

THOMAS BJORN: I want to be out there. But I was not my golf was not good and I wasn't within the team, and I was honoured to able to go in and help as much as I could for the week. But, you know, I want to play golf. I'm 35 years old. I'm by no means at that time in my career where I start doing other things. I'm focused on playing golf. I feel like I could go and do something for the team. I knew a few guys well on the team that Bernhard probably didn't know that well so I could do things for him at that time. But my main focus was on playing and all of these things will come whenever they come.

And I would love to be a Ryder Cup Captain one day, but I also know that it takes a lot more than just playing regular Tour golf. It takes great results, it takes a long career at the top of the game, and so I need to focus on golf to be a Ryder Cup Captain one day.

Q. Do the injuries and illness mean you are playing catch-up in the Ryder Cup standings?

THOMAS BJORN: I played catch up from day one. I got sick after the Seve Trophy last year and again at the American Express and spent an awful long time away from the game. I didn't play tournaments like dunhill links. I didn't play the Volvo Masters, big golf tournaments where there' are a lot of points at stake.

So, you know, you fall behind, and then you are playing catch up. As I said before, you know, this is a long summer. You want to play some good golf and get yourself somewhere where near the team or in the team and just be positive about my game. You know, my golfing life doesn't stand or fall on the Ryder Cup, but I would certainly like to be part of it.

Q. You must have been pleased last week with Ian Woosnam's words about loyalty to the tour being rewarded?

THOMAS BJORN: Well that's one thing I am and that's loyal to this tour.

Q. You have said that flying brings on your injury problem. Will you cut down on your US schedule?

THOMAS BJORN: No, I won't cut down on my U.S. schedule. My U.S. schedule is somewhere between seven and ten tournaments every year. I don't think you can participate in the top of the world game if you don't play seven to ten tournaments in America. But I might cut down a little bit on my Australian trips and my Japan trips. The biggest benefit they have is on my bank account sometimes.

Q. Are you hiring a helicopter to the FA Cup Final?

THOMAS BJORN: It crossed my mind. It's crossed my mind. You know, let's focus on golf first. I've got a good sponsor on my right sleeve if I want to get tickets and if I get there, I might get there, but all in all, I'm focusing on golf right now and I'm quite sure Liverpool can take care of themselves.

Q. How long have you been a Liverpool fan?

THOMAS BJORN: Since I was a kid. I'm born in 1971, when you start taking interest in football at the age of seven or eight, nine years old, there was only one team to follow. They played the best football at the time and I've been a Liverpool fan ever since. There have been some great times and there have been some hard times. Once a fan, always a fan.

Q. You, Darren and Paul going together

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, we would take that. But I think we will split direction when we get to the stadium.

End of FastScripts.

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