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February 1, 2012

Thomas Bjorn


MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Thomas, welcome back.
THOMAS BJORN:  Thank you.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Pleasure to welcome our defending champion back to the Commercialbank Qatar Masters.
THOMAS BJORN:  Yeah.  It's nice to any course you come back as defending champ or you come back to a golf course you won on, it always gives you those memories, but you also come in with a point that it's a new season, a new tournament ahead of you, so you gotta try and prepare yourself a little bit for what's ahead of you in the week.
It's the usual stuff.  Last year we had very windy conditions, and it seems that that's going to continue this year.  The golf course is quite a bit different this year, I think.  It's not as much rough, but the greens are a lot firmer than they were last year and maybe a little bit more tricky.  So it's going to be a tricky week with the weather forecast that's ahead of us, and it's going to be a battle.
Looking forward to it, coming off of a good week last week.  Played really well on the weekend.  Well, I played well all week, but I had a change of putter after Friday, and that seemed to do the trick, and had a very, very good weekend, and that got me into a position where I probably had a sniff of a chance of doing something on Sunday, but didn't quite get it done on the Back 9.  But still comfortable in what I'm doing.  I played quite well through most parts of last season and off to a decent start this year, so it's nice to come into this week.

Q.  Can you put your finger on why you had such a good year last year?
THOMAS BJORN:  I kind of made a decision two years ago.  I went through a spell of maybe not finding golf all that much fun anymore, and you know, maybe a little bit of falling out of love with the game and the traveling and going around the world and started focusing maybe a little bit on other stuff off the golf course.  And made a decision that if I was going to play this game, I wanted to be able to be competitive and play with the best players in the world, and to do that I had to totally refocus myself on golf.
So where a lot of people see the results last year, as a return to form, it was probably something that started quite a bit sooner than that for me, total recommitment to the game of golf.  And I'm comfortable on the golf course.  I enjoy my travels.  I enjoy being out here, and I promised myself that I was going to have a good finish to my career.  I could have quite a few years ahead of me, but I'm certainly going to try to enjoy them and make the most of them.  So I think that recommitment kind of made me competitive again.  It made me the player that I probably really want to be.
But through a long career it's what you go through sometimes that you just lose your track a little bit of what you're really trying to do when you're trying to do too many things instead of say, well, I'm a professional golf player and that's what I've gotta focus on 100 percent.  So I've done that for pretty much two years now and now I'm seeing it in my game on the golf course that I'm more consistent.  I'm better at being competitive and when I get inconsistent when I'm competitive, I feel more comfortable with it as well because I trust and believe in what I do.

Q.  Thomas, you're going to become the first player to successfully defend the Qatar Masters title.  How much pressure is there on you?
THOMAS BJORN:  Not at all, I wouldn't say.  We play week in, week out, and you get to golf tournaments, and you got one thing on your mind and that's to try and win the golf tournament.  We also very much realize that a lot of things gotta go your way, and certainly when you got a weather forecast like this one, you can be a little bit lucky or a little bit unlucky on the draw, so you gotta go out there and play your game and try and bring yourself into position on Sunday afternoon where you have a chance.
And that's what the whole focus is on this week for me, to work hard throughout the week, work hard on the golf course and if the putts drop, you have a chance to be there on Sunday.  But to add any pressure being defending champion and trying to win the tournament two times in a row, well, we play golf tournaments all the time and you prepare the best you can and the result will be what it will be.  As long as you try your hardest, then you've done everything you could.  You can never predict what's going to happen in a golf tournament.

Q.  I think it was last year you had some health issues in the beginning.  Maybe talk about your health and how that's going?
THOMAS BJORN:  It's good.  I went through an extensive health check over the winter, and everything is good.  I've still got issues with my neck that's always going to be there.  I gotta manage it better.  I gotta manage my gym work better.  I gotta take my time off to give it some rest, and that will always follow me until the day I finish playing.
But you know, I've had them for 20 years, and I know they can appear out of the blue, and it's obviously tough when it does, but if I manage it well, then I got a chance of going through a season pretty much being healthy all the way, but it's tough at times because when you play well, you want to play more and that's where I sometimes have to back off.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Thomas, thanks for joining us.  Good luck this weekend.

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