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July 11, 2008

Thomas Bjorn


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Must feel good to have two good rounds and be on top for the weekend.
THOMAS BJÖRN: Yeah, it's one of those things when you start thinking you're doing something right but the day after, you don't really know what you're doing, so it was nice, I played well yesterday, and it was nice to go out and feel like I was in some sort of control of my game out there today, as well. So two rounds is good, and now we can sleep late for once on a Saturday.

Q. After withdrawing last week --
THOMAS BJÖRN: Yeah, I've had a lot of problems over the years, and you know, I've tried to deal with it and sometimes it doesn't really go the way I want it. I pulled out of Sunningdale with a really bad shoulder and that was going to give me some problems to play The European Open and I woke up on Sunday of The European Open with food poisoning and that kept me out on Sunday. It's not been the greatest run at the moment but I'm trying to deal with it and work as hard as I can when I feel fit for it.
But you know, I was close to pulling out of the Pro-Am on Wednesday this week, so I go through these spells where I can't really get myself fit and playing a lot of golf doesn't really help. This break that's coming now is good for me, three or four weeks off now, and that will be good for me.

Q. ?
THOMAS BJÖRN: There's a long way to the Top-5 at the moment. These will be two good rounds, but they are a long way to the Top-5 at the moment. I'm happy with what I've done these two days, and then I've just got to try and go do more of the same. But it's tough when you've got a quality field and you know you are not 100 PER CENT confident in everything that you do.
So I'm going to try -- I've said for a long time, I just want to try to find some form. When you start looking at things, and I am very well aware of where I am in the World Rankings, and when you're there, you've got to sometimes accept that that's where you are, and that's the kind of golfer you are now. And if I'm ever going to have a chance of coming back to where I want to be, then I've got to realise that that's where my golf is and not start thinking of where it was.
So if you are about 200th in the world, you would be very pleased with what you've done these two days and try and enjoy this weekend and not look at what you did in '96 or '98 or 2000; that's not what it's about. It's about trying to get some confidence under your belt by producing some good numbers.
So I'm going to take these two days and be very pleased with that and try to build on it on the weekend and whatever happens this weekend, it's not about The Open Championship for me. It's about time to get some form, because if I ever get my form back to where it was, well, then I'll be playing plenty of major championships and hopefully competing for them. But at the moment, my golf is not good enough to compete in major championships, that's for sure.

Q. ?
THOMAS BJÖRN: I probably didn't at the time, but then you also know, golf is a strange game. It changes very quickly. In that way, you know, I've been out here long enough to know that it can change very quickly and all of a sudden you find something; and the old confidence, it's quick. But it's been such a long time that I probably didn't think I would be in a position like this, where I felt I played controlled golf for two days which is something that I really haven't been feeling.
I think the players' feelings of how they are playing, sometimes you produce a number but you don't really know what you've been doing, and that just comes by chance. I do feel these two days that I controlled the golf ball pretty well and that gives me confidence and believing that I'm doing the right things.

Q. ?
THOMAS BJÖRN: I think you've got to be honest. You can kid yourself to be a lot of things. I don't know with myself with my golf; I know where I am, and I'm pleased with this, because I worked hard just to even get two rounds under the belt and hopefully it will continue. But I've got to be honest with myself. I've always been honest with myself with regards to my golf. I've just got to say this is where I am, because if you kid yourself, you forget to work hard, and I've always worked hard and I always know how to deal with problems on the golf course. I work very hard on my game and eventually I'll come out on the other side.
I've had my fair share of ups and downs in my career, and there's no doubt, the older you get, the more downs you will have and it becomes more and more difficult to come out on the other side. I said earlier this year, I'm giving myself one more goal to get out on the other side. And the only way to do it is to work as hard as you can and I work as hard as my body allows me to, to be honest. So I'm giving myself that chance and hopefully these two days will be a step in the right direction.
We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Q. How long are you looking at to give yourself a chance --
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, I mean, I've said I wanted to -- I sat down at the back end of last year and said where do you see yourself going, and when could you see yourself finishing your career.
I felt like if I finish it now, you give yourself a real go at it, and that's got to be six, seven, eight years, and that's the position I made. I want to go to mid 40s, and so working hard, it was not about working hard for two months and try to be back in January; it's about working for the future and say, all right, let's work for the long-term plan, and that's what I'm doing.
With regards to the long putter, yes, I couldn't get the ball to the hole from two feet six weeks ago and now I'm holing putts again. It's impossible to play this game without holing any sort of putts. That's just the way it is. I always thought that I've always been a great putter and I've always been known to be a great putter.
Confidence just disappeared, and all of a sudden it became so much pressure on that part of it that it didn't hold up and something had to happen. I took advice from a couple of people, had a long chat with Bernhard in Munich, and that was an option and took it and went out and played with it. It feels awkward, it's all right on putting green, but you go out and play with it the first time in a tournament, you feel a bit strange out there. But now it's starting to feel better than it has and it's certainly better than the short one at the moment.
I've always said I think any golfer would prefer to putt with a short one and maybe one day I'll go back, but at the moment, it certainly feels better with a long one.

Q. ?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, I always feel great when I tee it up here. I think all of the players will agree that this is a special place. This is a great golf course. It's starting to build its own history as well now. For me, it's the one golf course that I probably think of it more than the rest of them on Tour because it gave me my first win and I think for a player to win his first event in Scotland, it's got to be special.
So, yes, it's a great for me to come, and maybe just it came at the right time, this golf course, for me in the season. So let's see what happens the next two days.

Q. You mentioned a target -- where you see yourself --
THOMAS BJÖRN: Take it one step at a time. Try to get back into the Top-100 and try to get back into the Top-50 and when you're there, things will take care of themselves.
At the moment, this is where I am. I make my plans from where I am in the world and not where I think I should be or where I have been. I've got to be completely honest with what I do and not look at -- you know, the next four weeks, if you're not completely realistic in where you are the next four weeks, being a golfer could be very hard and you're used to having a good performance, and you're not, and so I'm going to go back and use these four weeks to come out the other end in Sweden and Holland and try to play well there to get myself in those tournaments for the future.

Q. ?
THOMAS BJÖRN: There's no doubt, it started as a sensation, and then the people you have around you, you start talking to them about it, caddies and coaches and in the beginning they couldn't see it. But it was a feeling, and in the end it became obvious to them, as well.
So on one of those putts that's pressure to get the round going or to keep the round going, you know, it just became very obvious to the people around me that that was what it was, and then there's only one way.
The great thing with the long putter is that no matter how much you feel those feelings, the hand seems to do something different than you feel. So that's a good thing. I've never really been a big fan of it. Now it was an eye-opener.

Q. ?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, pretty difficult to have any view on it; I think it should be allowed. (Laughter).
I always thought that it was a difficult thing. It was one of them things that there's so many arguments for and so many arguments against. So it was always difficult to make that decision.
And once you allowed it, it's very difficult to go back.

Q. ?
THOMAS BJÖRN: I think, I've played, what, 12 Opens in a row; I love that golf tournament more than any tournament in the world. It's the finest tournament of them all. For European golf, I think it certainly is the one you want to be in and the one you want to compete in. And I will always tell you until the end of my golf career that that's the one I should win and certainly have the biggest chance of winning.
So it will always be difficult, but you go back and you probably turn up the TV and then you watch maybe the last couple of hours of coverage on Sunday just to see who wins it. But turn off the TV, get yourself on the driving range and make yourself feel that you're there next year.

Q. ?
THOMAS BJÖRN: I think the text message to him said something like that.
You know, those are the things that happens in golf. There's ways of doing things, and, you know, Ernie made a double-bogey on 16 when he won in Muirfield. There's always those things that happen at the end and there's more things that happen at the end of major championships. Mine was in a very dramatic way, and you've got to deal with those things.
You can't, you've got to look at your situation and you can't go, well, somebody else gets away with it. Padraig deserved to win an Open Championship. Ernie deserved to win an Open Championship for the way that he played golf. And sometimes it goes your way or not. And Sergio will feel like that Championship owes him one, as well.
You've got to deal with those things. We are not really using those -- we are not really defined by our actions and that's what you've got to do, you've got to deal with those things and come out on the other side.
I think that you've got to take great examples; Sergio is a great example. He's had a lot of hard times with the majors, and I'm sure confidence-wise he's had a lot of hard times with the majors and dealing with a lot of things, because he's such a quality player. And to come out this year and win the TPC was a magnificent performance, because it's not just another tournament; it's probably the fifth-biggest tournament in the world. And that's what quality is, when you can stand up and say, okay, these are the cards I've been dealt and this is how I'm going to do it, and I'm going to come out on the other side and do it better.

Q. ?
THOMAS BJÖRN: No. It's still the neck and shoulder that still bothers me. Most golfers, it starts with the neck but for me it start with the shoulder and gets into the neck. I have disc bulges in the neck and when they get inflamed, it becomes difficult to do anything. I've got good people looking at it, and if I did something else, you would probably be recommended to have an operation on it but I'm not quite sure. That operation, as a professional golfer, that is something that could very likely end the whole golf career and so we play with it and sometimes play through the pain that's there.
Most of the time I don't feel anything. When I feel good, there's nothing there.

Q. Do you take anything for it?
THOMAS BJÖRN: I don't really take anything because the pain is so severe and if I take painkillers, I can't really play anyway, and there's no movement in the neck. So it's a question of getting some treatment for it. And I've got a very good chiropractor in London that looks after me and to be honest when I see him enough, then I can get through most things, but it's difficult to see him enough when you're out here.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thomas, thanks for coming in.

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