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February 5, 2011

Thomas Bjorn


STEVE TODD: Thanks for joining us in here. It's certainly been a good afternoon for you out there, especially the back nine, a good 66 out there.
THOMAS BJÖRN: Yeah, it was pretty solid. I didn't drive the ball particularly well early on and you know, decided to just get the ball on the greens and succeeded in doing that.
But when you finish a round with four birdies in the last five, you have to walk off very happy. I played fantastic yesterday to shoot that 65 and felt comfortable this morning and felt good with the way my golf is. I'm feeling quite comfortable on the golf course, considering it's been a while since I've been in that kind of situation. So I'm pleased with the way the day panned out.
But by the looks of things, we have a very tough day tomorrow, and it's going to be a test of -- you've just got to get out there and really try to stay with your own golf and see what happens to the end.
STEVE TODD: Back nine on a Sunday is always very important. How much confidence do you take from the way you negotiated the back nine today?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, there are some great opportunities on that back nine. Every hole bar 13 is an opportunity. When you're out there, you know that you have to keep going until the end. And I think we come here enough years now to know that the last few holes, a lot of good rounds have been turned around on the last hole so you just have to keep going. Just got to stick with your game and know that great things can happen in the end.

Q. You won last year, and obviously that re-kick-started your career. How well do you feel it's gone since?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, I played quite well to be honest through a long period there after. And after Valderrama, where I played extremely well at Valderrama, I just got into a state where I played too much golf. If you look at the two years prior to 2010, I played probably 20 events a year, and last year I played 32.
So, I got very tired. I played a lot of golf. But I felt like that was the only way to try to get my golf back and be competitive.
The one thing I found by playing less golf was I couldn't master getting something out of rounds. It was all right when things were going well on the golf course, but I couldn't master doing what I did today.
I think playing all of that golf last year has made me realise that again you don't have to play perfect golf. You just have to play smart golf and then you can get some scores together and I did that today. It wasn't by any means beautiful, but it was certainly efficient.

Q. Has that been a key for you over the three days, playing smart golf, even though you say you haven't driven the ball well?
THOMAS BJÖRN: The first day I didn't play particularly well. I fought it well around to shoot 74; every part of my game yesterday was fantastic. And I think that confidence from yesterday gave me the belief that I could go out and produce a number, and today I stuck with it right to the end and finished with three birdies and all of a sudden turned a decent round into a great round. So that's what happens when things are starting to go your way a little bit, and they certainly did that today.

Q. You know Markus well, can I guess you know the pressure he is under, winning back his card but I guess you can't look only at him, because Robert is close behind and Quiros could shoot a good score.
THOMAS BJÖRN: Yeah, it's a day, by the looks of things, it's going to blow very hard and Markus hits a lot of fairways and that's certainly going to help you tomorrow.
Yeah, he's under pressure, but he's got a soul lit head on his shoulders and he's been out here a long time. And you know, it's a fairy tale story if he pulls it off and I'm sure everyone around him will go try to win the golf tournament; that's why we are all here.
But Markus deserves a spot on this tour. He's had a bad season last year but says a lot about a guy that you don't have a card and you get here and you get an opportunity and you go out and play great golf. And when you play like he's done these three days, you deserve to be on this tour.
But you know, that's the way it is sometimes. One bad year can put you in a bad position.

Q. Given the conditions tomorrow, would you have thought maybe just a couple of under par might be enough?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, by the looks of things, it's going to blow like it did on Thursday. Then I think any player in this field will take a 72. This it golf course becomes very brutal when it blows and the greens are firm and there's a lot of rough, and the fairways are firm now, so it's getting more and more difficult to hit them, as well.
So you have to think that if it blows that much, a 72 is a good score.

Q. I mean this in a nice way but are you surprised to be one off the lead with a round to play after a season where you say, you played maybe too much golf last year?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, I had a long great break and when I came to Abu Dhabi, I felt very rusty and I felt like the golf was a very long way away. And I worked hard with Pete Cowen and Mike Walker, and once you look at the swing on the camera, you know, it looks great. It was just rusty.
And so I kind of stuck with it and I've been frustrated the last couple of weeks to say the least, because when you see a good golf swing on camera and you see where it is and the ball is not going where you want it to, you tend to get frustrated on the golf course. But you've got to stick with it and we know we are doing the right thing technically.
Any time I tee it up, I'm there to get myself in these positions, but unfortunately over the last few years, it has not happened as often as I want it to. But yeah, I'm not surprised but I'm just delighted.

Q. Entering the last day tomorrow, being the leader, is there any pressure on you?
THOMAS BJÖRN: The pressures are there. That's what we live with. That's what we play golf for. When you go to bed tonight, you're going to release the day tomorrow, and when you wake up tomorrow morning you're going to be wanting to get out there and do the job.
I've been out there for, what, this is my 16th season. This is what you play golf for. I always say, golf doesn't give you much. You go home very often disappointed. So if you get nervous, and panicky about a situation like tomorrow, well, then you're in the wrong place. You've got to go out there and perform, because that's what you live your life for.

Q. Who would you like to have a pairing with --
THOMAS BJÖRN: Doesn't matter to be to be honest. I'm not bothered either way. If my golf game is good, I know I can beat anybody, but it has to be good.
STEVE TODD: Thank you, Thomas for your time.

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