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May 22, 2006

Thomas Bjorn


SCOTT CROCKETT: As always, many, many congratulations, a fantastic win. You've been through a lot in Ireland and every win is special, but perhaps maybe this one is just that little bit extra.

THOMAS BJORN: You know, it's one down in Ireland, that's for sure. But yeah, it was important, as any win is important. This is special. It's a lot of things about it that are special. It's obviously special being in Ireland for obvious reasons. The Irish Open owed me one. I lost in a playoff to Cambo and probably played some of my best golf. And I shot 78 in the first round this week. There's a lot of good things about what's happened. You.

You know, after the first round, you know, you don't really don't really think much is going your way and you think you work hard and you're trying and turn it around and then you play a great second round and a great third round and today was well, this fourth round, I don't know how many days it lasted, but it lasted a long time, for sure. It was last man standing in the end. It was just trying to grind it out, and I felt like when I made bogey on 16 I felt like I was maybe losing a little bit of touch with it. But then I hit a wonderful shot on 17 and rolled in that putt.

And the last was, you know, I saw Darren 3 putt, and I actually thought he made five and it was in between me and Paul. The worst thing probably possible happened to Paul. He hit two magnificent shots and he ends up with an 80 foot putt, and that's not what you want to do when you have to 2 putt it; from that perspective, he was unlucky.

I'm just very happy with the way the week worked out for me. You know, it was something that I you know, I've been wanting to do. You've got to when you go through things, you've got to stand up and you've got to try and do the best you can and get back to the things that you know you can do.

And this is a very important win for me because I don't normally read many papers, but every time I read papers at the moment it's about St. George's and it's about The K Club. There's not much fun reading these things about yourself all the time, and this is probably one of those where you say, well, this is certainly one of the positives and hopefully in the future I read more positive things about myself.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Before we take some questions, just give us the details of the two birdies at the end. What did you hit at 17?

THOMAS BJORN: I hit a 5 iron to 18 feet.

18 was driver, 3 wood, lob wedge to seven feet.

Q. Also it's been ten months since you had an injury - are you around the corner from that now?

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, this has been great. It's been a hard time with, you know, hospital visits and injuries. It's not really been really continuous. I haven't really had any continuous practice; every time I feel I can get good I get set back by either injury or illness. It's been hard. You see yourself somewhere in the World Rankings where, well, yeah, that's decent. But you see yourself slipping in everything else, Order of Merit and you see yourself slipping in Ryder Cup standings and you don't really understand why.

But when you don't play enough golf tournaments, you don't rack up those fifth to tenth; it actually gives you a lot of points and a lot that it adds on. I haven't had enough of that. I've slipped but at least this opens opportunities for me. It was important for me to open that door again because I've been a long way back. And at least the opportunity is there now. There's no guarantees. There's a lot of people that want to make the team but at least the opportunity is there now.

Q. Were you aware of what happened to Darren at the 9th?

THOMAS BJORN: I was, actually. Somebody told me.

You know, Darren's as good a sportsman as they come. He puts a lot of pride in taking or putting the game above everything else. And what he did on the 9th today just shows his character and his belief in the game. The game of golf is, you know, much, much bigger than any other person. We play under rules and we have to play by those rules ourselves. We can call on referees or whatever, but we have to set an example to amateur golfers around the world how this game was played and Darren was a great example of how a professional sportsman should treat the sport today.

Q. How do you separate yourself psychologically from Darren this week?

THOMAS BJORN: You know, there's lot a lot of times where you want where I take much note of who else wins golf tournaments. But there's no person in the world I would like winning at the moment than Darren. But it's for Darren to speak about the things that he wants to speak about with you guys, it's not for me. He's a close personal friend. We have a great relationship and I have the utmost respect for him as a person and all of his family. You know, it's not the easiest of times. I go to bed every night praying for him and his family because it's important times.

Q. What did Paul say to you at the last?

THOMAS BJORN: You know, well, Paul said "well done." I think when you you know, the way I finished this golf tournament off, I think we all as professional players understand that, you know, when you birdie the last two to win a golf tournament, you know, you do the things right. He was disappointed obviously with his own finish.

But you know, I think Paul I've been fairly close to Paul through his rough times, and, you know, I think he was fairly happy for me. But when you're in that situation, yourself you have to walk off very disappointed, because he wants to win more than anything, and he's so close at the moment, last week, this week. He's knocking on the door all the time. And obviously that has to be frustrating for him not to be winning, but, you know, he didn't put a foot wrong.

Q. What did you think of the course this week?

THOMAS BJORN: You know, we didn't see much of it this week. We tried to see it through an umbrella. But it's a good golf course. It's a new golf course. It's a hard designed golf course and I think the scoring showed that.

But I think it's been done well. You know, it's actually very easy to see who's done it; it used to be the best driver of the golf ball in the world that's done this golf course.

He's done a very good job. You know when you get conditions like this, there's always going to be people in the corner saying bad things about the place. I think in all fairness, the day it calmed down, the scoring got a little bit better and these conditions, at least three of the rounds, were at tough as they get.

Q. Where would this win rank for you?

THOMAS BJORN: They are all special. They are all great memories. I don't put them in ranking order except think know the first one was the most important one, and that will always be the case. But I don't put them in ranking order.

It's important, you know, in the process of things it's important to win golf tournaments; it gives you that belief and that hope. It gives you a little bit of just saying that you are doing the right thing; that you are doing that hard work and it's going someplace. But I don't really rank them.

Q. In terms of Ryder Cup, how important is it to play your way into the team?

THOMAS BJORN: Well, if I want to be on the team, I think I might have to play my way in. I think Woosie is in a situation where he's going to need his two wild cards.

But, saying that, you know, it's not life or death for me, but I would like to be there just for the only reason that I know that I'm playing the right sort of golf. If you're not in the Ryder Cup Team when you play the level I play at, you're not playing the right sort of golf.

So it's more a personal thing that I desperately want to be on that team, because I said before, we don't have 12 guys that can win the Ryder Cup anymore, or once they only had eight or nine; we have 20, 24 guys that can win the Ryder Cup.

So the most important thing is that we go with 12 guys in September that's going to win. Whoever the 12 are, we just have to go with the best 12 that can win the Ryder Cup. And if you're not amongst them, you're not amongst them. But it's not life or death anymore, for me, but I would love to be there.

Q. In your break between the first round and second round, who said most to you, was it Jos or was it Ewen Murray?

THOMAS BJORN: A lot of it was Jos. Obviously Jos talks about things, and then you have to go do it yourself. It's quite easy in that situation just to let it go in one ear and out the other. But, you know, I take a lot of pride that I did go out and do the things that I did in the second round. I take a lot of pride in I don't think it's very often we have on Tour with guys winning with a 78 in the first round. You have to take a lot of pride in that. It's character building for yourself and it's confidence building, as well.

The last three rounds is, you know, very, very special for me, golfing wise. You know, it gives me a lot of belief when I go into the rest of the season. Now we pack the bags up and we play the biggest championship of The European Tour (International) Schedule next week and just keep carrying it on in into that week.

Q. Inaudible?

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, it does. It's important in my belief that I am working on the right things. You know, it's a continuous process for me and it's always been, and you know, I look for four tournaments every year to try and get my form right, and you've got to get all these boosts along the way to be right and in the right frame of mind going into major championships. And this is a major boost for me with the U.S. Open coming up to then know that I'm working on the right things and know my golf is going in the right direction and I just have to keep on that track, instead of desperately trying to find something new to get myself ready.

Q. How often did you speak with Jos this week?

THOMAS BJORN: Yeah, I've seen him pretty much every day this week. He's back in Belgium now. I'm sure he's opened a bottle of red wine on his own account and now I'm quite sure that I'll see him throughout the week at Wentworth and we'll have a bit of laugh about it because he takes a lot of credit for this.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Looks like we're all done, Thomas. Many, many congratulations. Well done.

End of FastScripts.

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