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February 6, 2011

Thomas Bjorn


STEVE TODD: Thomas, congratulations, Commercialbank Qatar Masters Champion 2011. Very tough day out there but you must be delighted to have crossed the line and to have done so so impressively today.
THOMAS BJÖRN: I said yesterday it was going to be one of those days where it's a question of hanging in, and that's all I did earlier on. I didn't play particularly well for at least the first six holes. I was really struggling and didn't hit any fairways, and just kept holing a few putts for pars.
I knew it was going to be a tough day. But from there on, I started playing a lot better and got more control over the ball and just felt like, just keep making pars.
I stood on the 10th tee with a four-shot lead and I knew it was going to be difficult, if I parred every hole on the back nine, it's going to be difficult for them to catch me.
But Alvaro put in a stint there where he threw a few birdies in and it became a little bit tense. But after I hit that shot on 15 and saw him miss that putt for par, well, it's going to be difficult for him to catch me out if I don't make any mistakes.
In the end it became a bit of a cruise. But delighted with the week. I played solid golf. I think I made one bogey in the last 54 holes. On this golf course and in these conditions, that's good going.
So it's not just that I played well, but all parts of the game was well this week. I fought when I needed to and I kept it together and I never got ahead of myself. I'm delighted with all of that. It's not always about just playing great, because I did that on Friday and I played well yesterday and today was more of a struggle, but kept my head on and never made a bogey. So that's a good day's work.
STEVE TODD: You touched on pars all the way up until 15, and in many respects that was the key hole with Alvaro dropping a shot and then you getting your first birdie of the day.
THOMAS BJÖRN: Yeah, but I said yesterday, those last four holes, a lot of things can happen, and as I'm standing on 15th green, I see him hit a 3-iron or whatever it was to the green on 16, and he's got an eagle putt there. There's a lot of things that can happen with his length.
I knew I had to go all the way to the end. There was no time I could let up. When you're up against guys like that, and certainly with his length, big things can happen in a short space of time. You've got all the way to the end, which I did, and I'm very proud of the way I handled myself today. I stayed very focused all the way and not much smiling going on probably but I stayed with my head down and stayed very concentrated on what I had to do. I've got to be proud of that.
STEVE TODD: Looks like a return to the Top 60 in the world and obviously the World Golf Championships with that. How important is this victory in terms of your own career?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, the field this week was unbelievably strong, and you know, that shows where European Tour golf is at the moment. We have got a lot of players up there in the Top-10 and a lot of them played this week. You know, that gives you a few extra points.
So there's a lot at stake today, not just winning the golf tournament. There's a lot at stake to get yourself back up and playing in some big events. You know, we start with one World Golf Championship. But right now, I just want to sit down and enjoy a couple of days with my family in Dubai and then keep on, there's a lot at stake next week again with a great field.
I'm just delighted that I could win a golf tournament with such a strong field, because that gives me a boost in confidence that I can play with the best again.

Q. You say about keeping your head, no one could be anything but impressed with that round and the control of it. Has that been your biggest problem in the past?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, it's always been my problem. But I think my problem is always that I want it almost too much and I get very easily frustrated when things are not going my way.
And that's part and parcel of who I am. I want it and I know I can play with the best. And when you go through spells in your career when things are not great, you're looking maybe in the wrong places, because you're looking at what the best are doing, and that's what you want to be.
My frustration comes more when things are not going quite the way I want them. Today, I was as good as you can be, and that's the way I am when I get in those situations. I always feel great in those situations. I always feel like I'm in control of myself and you know, I like conditions like this, because I know people are going to make mistakes and it is a little bit of a battle of who makes the least mistakes.
I like that. I feel in control in conditions like that. I'm not meant for 26-under, but we are all different as golfers. So I like it when it's tough.

Q. In terms of satisfaction, you had a win last year; is this one bigger because of the field or --
THOMAS BJÖRN: Oh, definitely. I mean, last year, it was the smallest event. I handled myself great in that event coming down the stretch, and then obviously because I had not won for four years, it was massive.
But this is different. You've got the best players in the world playing this week. So to stand up and win a golf tournament like this by four shots in the end is something that you can -- that you can be proud of and look back at and say, well, yeah, I didn't only do it in a golf tournament; I did it when the best was playing and you've got to be happy with that.

Q. What are your goals for this year, and winning here, do they change in any way?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Not at all. My goals are always my goals and I keep them for myself. But there's no doubt where I want to go with my golf. I've set to get myself back into the top hundred in the world and from there get back into the Top-50 in the world and from there, anything can happen because you're playing in the right tournaments. This is a massive step in the right direction, but I'm by no means there yet.
But, I've got to take all of the positives out of this and be happy with what I've done this week, and taking a big leap in the right direction. But got to keep on from here. There's a long way to go.

Q. Last year you won after four years and this year you won; do you think you'll go back to the days like 2005, 2006 when you were at the peak of your form?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Well, hopefully. But we don't know what the future brings. I take confidence from this, and that's all it's about. I take confidence from performing like I've done this week, and I've got to take confidence from that.
And playing that kind of golf, well, yeah, then I know that I can take the steps all the way up to the top of the game. But you know, the guys today are very, very good. And you know, you've got to perform like this all the time to be right up there and there's still a ways to go. But I'm going to take a lot of good from this week.

Q. It has been windy a few times; did you feel any fear that it might create a hurdle for you reaching to this position?
THOMAS BJÖRN: No, I think the conditions favours -- conditions like today favours players that has got experience and know a lot of things can happen. I drew a lot on my experience today; knowing when Alvaro got close to me, knowing don't try and chase it too much, just keep making pars. This is what you have to do in conditions like this. And if he would have finished it off and made the birdies in the end, well, it would be good luck to him. That's what we played for and he played fantastic up until the 15th.
But I've got to be proud that I just stuck with mine, and I'm delighted that I went all the way to the end with that.

Q. The shot on 15 on the second, how far did you have to go and which club did you use?
THOMAS BJÖRN: I had 180 metres to the flag. I hit a 7-iron.

Q. Distance of putt?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Four feet.

Q. Could you go through the other two birdies?
THOMAS BJÖRN: 16, I was in between driver and 3-wood on 16, and I just thought, the pin -- I would be better off over the back and I hit a driver over the back and chipped down to 12 feet and holed it.
And then the last, it was just a cruise. I can hardly remember, it was just driver in the middle of the fairway, 8-iron and a lob-wedge to four feet. (Laughter).
But it was a cruise in the end.

Q. Is that the larges trophy you've ever held in your career, are you getting older?
THOMAS BJÖRN: Funny enough that Dubai trophy is heavier than that one. It takes some doing (smiling).

Q. Worth it.
THOMAS BJÖRN: Definitely worth it.

Q. Generally, you obviously did well in Saadiyat, you've got the Desert Classic trophy, as well; what is it about the desert generally that you enjoy?
THOMAS BJÖRN: I just think the golf courses are great. They are testing golf courses, and as I said before, I like a test. I don't like it being too easy and I like testing golf courses. This week was certainly a big test for everybody. There will be a lot of practising going on Monday and Tuesday next week to get golf swings sorted out, that's for sure, after this.
But I like a stiff test of golf where you've got to stand up and make sure that you are sure of what you're made of. And that's what I like about these golf courses. Conditions, it's all windy here and it adds to it and I just enjoy that.
STEVE TODD: Congratulations again, Thomas. Thank you for your time.

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