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September 24, 2009

Thomas Bjorn


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, Thomas, thanks for joining us. It's your first day as captain of Continental Europe. The score is 2-3. What is your assessment of the day's play?
THOMAS BJÖRN: (Chuckling) Before I even got on the golf course, it looked like it was turning into a disaster. So it was -- it got a bit tough, probably a bit tougher than I thought. I don't really get, you know, that hung up on things the first couple of days, but when you sit on the sidelines, I felt a little bit like, geez, what's going to happen here.
I said to Miguel and Gonzo going out, I said I need a point from you, so you just need to find it somehow, and they pulled through. All of a sudden, they kicked into gear, and produced some really good stuff. At the end of the day, we are 3-2 behind and that's by no means any disaster, but it was a tough day for a couple of our guys out there today. They got the putters rolling against them and, you know, a couple of them didn't play their best.
But they know what they have to do, and we have got a pretty set agreement amongst the team that we stay with the last match until the end but I could see a couple of faces out there that would like to see a driving range. (Laughter) So a couple of them went off early and started preparing for tomorrow.
There's no excuses for not being ready when you get out there, but you know, being a Scandinavian myself, a few of them, I know they are very set is the in their routines. I could see at this morning, a lot of things going on that, maybe unsettled them a little bit and they maybe weren't quite ready when they stood on the first tee, and they got off to rocky starts. You know, hitting fourballs, especially. But in these match-play situations, always momentum is important. And thank God the experience pulled us back at the end, you know, with Miguel and Gonzo. They were brilliant.

Q. How is Robert Karlsson today?
THOMAS BJÖRN: He's all right. To be fair to Robert, he didn't play -- well, he obviously can play a lot better than he did but he didn't play all that bad. Henrik feels like he didn't play his best golf today and felt disappointed when he was finished. You know, that's the way it is.
And I've said it to all of them, you know, you can't expect all ten to play their best golf when they come in here. You've got to go with what you've got.
But you've got to show fight and determination, and Miguel and Gonzo showed how to do it. You know, they showed that fight in the end, and that was very important for the team, and the spirit is pretty good, considering that a couple of them had a pretty good beating today. They feel pretty good and certainly everybody is very happy that we came out of this day not trailing too much.

Q. What happened to unsettle them, and what can you do to prevent that happening again?
THOMAS BJÖRN: I just think it was a lot of things going on. Normally when you come into the first day of matches like this, this is important to the guys, and sometimes I think we play down this event a little bit; that, you know, it's a friendly match and stuff. But it's very important to the guys that are playing. I mean, I've played in all of them and I know how you feel on Thursday morning. You feel more at this than you do at a normal event when you're out. So you feel up for it.
And I think they got unsettled with the Opening Ceremony and all of those things going on. Their routines were a little bit off, and tomorrow they will be right into their old routines, and I feel confident that they will feel a little bit more comfortable when they come out tomorrow.

Q. Would you be happier to have the Opening Ceremony on the Wednesday afternoon?
THOMAS BJÖRN: As you would do in a normal team event, but in this team event we are very dependent on the Pro-Am and that takes place on Wednesday.
It's one of those things that you have to sacrifice. And I certainly learned that from this week; that I might have talked to them about how well they should prepare themselves for this morning. It's a long time to be at the golf course at a quarter to nine if you're going to tee off after mid-day. They are not used to it and they are just sitting around and they ends up eating breakfast three times and it's not quite what you want to do. Certainly not on your first day of competition.
So there's no excuses for it, because they should all have the experience, but I just felt a little bit of unsettling in them this morning.

Q. Looking at the wider picture, did you see enough of Rory and Graeme McDowell to suggest we might be seeing that partnership in other team competitions?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, it's difficult to say that. You know, when we come to a Ryder Cup situation, there's a few players missing this week and they will be in those teams.
You know, Graeme is an experienced player in world golf, but he's not the most experienced player when it comes to Ryder Cup situations. So that's a big decision to make to throw Rory out with him. I would think, you know, if I was Ryder Cup Captain, I would probably look at even more experience than that. I think we all are quite sure that Rory is going to be there, even though we don't know, but we all think that he's going to be there. And if he's there, you know, Ryder Cup is different than anything else, and we know that, and you know, you need some broad shoulders to carry that and it doesn't matter how much talent and who you are; you are going to feel the pressure when you come in that situation and you need some very big experience on your side.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thomas, see you again tomorrow, but maybe you'll be in second instead of first, who knows.

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