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August 22, 2012
SCOTT CROCKETT:Â Welcome back to the Johnnie Walker Championship, we talked a little about the 18th green as we were driving past; you saw quite a bit of that last year, six times in all the final day, just give us your thoughts on that win and coming back as defending champion.
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â It's obviously nice to come back to any venue you've won on.Â That was a bit of a different day last year.Â It's nice to be back here and I've played here quite a lot and quite enjoy the golf course and enjoy the venue.Â It's nice to be back and hopefully I can reproduce a little bit of what I had last year.
It's been a so‑so summer, so it's time to get back into gear and try to get yourself in shape for a long haul.Â I've got things I want to achieve in this game and it might as well start this week.Â I feel like I'm making the right noises at the moment again but just have to put it together for four rounds, and coming out an a golf course where you have good memories and recent good memories, it's going to be nice.Â You can relate to the golf course and you know what you have to do and how to play it.Â Now I'm just looking forward to the week really and it's a great place to come back to.
SCOTT CROCKETT:Â Professional golfers talk about being in the zone and you certainly were here and in Switzerland the following week.Â It was a really good part of the year for you, wasn't it.
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â Yeah, it was. Â It was two very unique weeks.Â When you can play the way I did here, and certainly the way I played in Switzerland the week after, it's all the hard work that comes out in two weeks like that and you go away from them and think, as I did last year, that golf can be so easy at times.Â I think you've got to treasure those moments because you go through enough rough spells.
So it was two very unique weeks and it was certainly pleasing from a point of view of going through some really rough times golf‑wise for maybe three or four years not really winning golf tournaments and not really contending too much.
And then it all comes out two weeks like that, you think you've done a lot of hard work and then you get the rewards from it and I think that was the most pleasing thing about those two weeks.
SCOTT CROCKETT:Â Obviously this week The Ryder Cup is involved, as well.Â Congratulations on your appointment again as vice captain by JosÃ© Maria.Â Tell us about that.Â I know how much you enjoy being part of The Ryder Cup experience.
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â Well, I enjoy being part of this Tour, and I know how much The Ryder Cup means to this Tour.Â When you get a chance‑‑ I was fortunate to play under Seve, and when you get a chance to work with JosÃ©, I don't think there's two guys that's meant more to European Ryder Cup than those two.
I certainly think they were poster boys of European Ryder Cup, and I grew up watching them when they were in their prime and hitting the ball everywhere and still winning points somehow.Â You know, it was very special as a kid to see that, and then come out on Tour and get to experience what they were like as people, I can only say that those were the two people I learned the most from about Ryder Cup.
Fortunate to have Seve as a captain, and playing a lot of golf with JosÃ©; at Valderrama, we played some practise rounds, and also speaking to him over the years about Ryder Cup has been inspirational, but also very helpful in a lot of ways.Â He's a special person, and this is his moment and nobody probably deserves it more to be captain of a great European Team.
Q.Â It seems that JosÃ© left a spot open for the vice captains; do you feel that you having been appointed‑‑ if you were to win again this week‑‑
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â I would be surprised if I won this week they wouldn't think about involving me on the golf course.Â But there's a lot of players outside that team that has had very good seasons.Â I'm sure he'll think a thought and I'm sure he'll think a thought about anybody that wins this week.Â But I also know there's only one way of getting him to think it and that's winning this week.
Q.Â After last year's playoffwas something of a war of attrition really; do you think the changes to the final hole have made it a much more dramatic finish for The Ryder Cup in 2014?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â Yeah, I think so.Â There's always been a little bit of talk about if that hole was a good enough hole before to have it as a finishing hole in The Ryder Cup.Â You know, we always talk about finishing holes in golf tournaments and in The Ryder Cup it tends to be that not so many matches gets to that hole.
But yeah, it probably did need a change, and the change is good, and it just makes it a little bit more interesting.Â But you know, they have done some fantastic work with this golf course over the years, and now what you see out there is certainly ready to hold a Ryder Cup.
As a venue, you couldn't pick a better venue in golf I don't think.Â As a whole, it's fantastic, with the hotel and the facilities that are here, and the golf course is there now, too, to host such a big event.
Q.Â How long ago was it Ollie asked?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â Saturday at the PGA.
Q.Â Did part of you want to know that your chances of a wild card would last to the end of the race?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â I mean, I have seen the list and I know what I would be thinking as a captain and I'm sure he won't be too far away from that.Â He needed to at some stage get his team around him together so he has a few people to talk to, and he had a clear view of who he wanted to go.
I think the conversations I've had with him since have been very much focussed on how to build his team up to perform well.Â And no matter if I could make a team or not, I've been involved both on and off the golf course, and I'm sure he felt like he could draw a lot of things from me in the conversation.
He asked me, and we are not talking about not being part of it or being part of it; we are talking about being part of it either off the golf course, on the golf course.Â And he speaks to all his players.Â
So I don't think he felt like appointing me as a vice captain was going to rule me out of playing on the team.Â I think it just gave him a person to talk to, and it made him comfortable in what he's doing.Â You know, I think we learned last time that having experienced people around the captain is good.
I think the job that was done in Wales was phenomenal.Â I think Monty got it absolutely right, and it was the whole mood around the team was so good that week and it just made them play better, and I think Ollie realised that when he got thrown into the team on the weekend and he felt like his team works well together and gives good inspiration for the team if he creates the right environment for him to perform.
You look at the people he's asked, he's not too far away from that.Â And I think he also realises that there are certain people, if they go and play well this week and win this week, he'll have to think a thought.Â Going back two years, Edoardo had to win here to get on the team, and he did, and he changed Monty's way of thinking a little bit on that Sunday.Â But if you come here and feel like you've got a chance, and you win, then you probably deserve a spot.
Q.Â When you say "PGA," PGA Kiawah or PGA Wentworth?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â Kiawah.
Q.Â Can you tell us what you think that the captains‑‑ being the assistant captain, what is it you bring to the team?Â What is it you're good at?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â I think all three of us that he's brought in knows the players very, very well and are comfortable with us and we can talk to them.Â We can actually get the truth out of them.Â It's very easy for a team player in those situations to just tell you what they think you want to know.
But I think we are very good at getting them in a corner and getting the truth out of them, where they are in their game, how they are feeling about the week, how they are feeling about playing with certain players, and I think we can‑‑ that's the feeling I got in Wales.
We got the truth out of them.Â And then the captain had all of the information he needed to make good pairings, to make good decisions, and you have to have people around the team that the players are comfortable with but also the captain can trust them 100 per cent.
I think that's our role from wherever we get there is to make sure that we get all of the information out of the players and the captain has everything in front of him and can make good decisions.
Q.Â (Your thoughts on Paul Lawrie making the side)?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â Paul you can put in front of anybody in the world and he won't be scared of going out and trying to win that point.Â Paul won't back off he's got great experience, and there's something about people that's won a Major Championship, they have that thing in the bank that when we go out on a Sunday and it's very, very tough, well, they can draw on a lot of things.
For him to make the team and the way he's played the last couple of years, it's just been amazing to watch, and it's a great hint to everybody that your career is not over until you actually put the shoes and the clubs away.Â He's just been phenomenal, and I chatted to him yesterday, and I know how much he's looking forward to it.
In his mind, he's absolutely ready to do it. Â It's been a long time since he's played in The Ryder Cup and he'll be ready and he'll be a good addition to the team.Â He's very calm and he's a person you want in the team room, because you always know where you've got Paul.Â You don't have to worry too much about him, and he'll just go and produce what he needs to produce.
Q.Â If you were in Nicolas Colsaerts's shoes, how would you rate your chances?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â I think if he's in the top two, he'll be there.Â That's what I'm thinking if I was Nicolas Colsaerts, get on the team and play your way into it.Â That's the most important thing for him.Â He's got to focus on this week.Â And if he doesn't do that, he's left it in somebody else's hands.
As I said before, there's not a rookie on that team, and that probably works in his favour.Â If there's a lot of rookies on the team, it's difficult to pick a rookie, but it might just make it a little bit easier for JosÃ©.
And on this subject, I have to say he's kept his cards very close to his chest.Â That's literally not come on the table.Â He just looks at you like‑‑ I'm not giving anything away on this.Â That's the way he's been looking at it, and that's fine.Â I'm sure at some stage this weeks, he'll have a chat with the people around him and see what they say.Â I'm playing with Nicolas this week, so I'll be surprised if he doesn't ask me a few things.
Q.Â Your thoughts on him?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â He's had a fantastic season and he's a good player and he has some strengths in his game that as a captain you can get very excited about, that's for sure.
He's had a brilliant season, and he went off and played Wyndham last week and had a good result.Â He needs to carry a bit of that form in here and just show that he's in the right sort of form.Â I would say as a captain, you certainly look hard and look hard at him and think, there's a boy that is certainly in the equation.
Q.Â Is one of your duties to observe him and report back?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â It's not one of my duties, but I am playing with him, so I'll be watching closely and if he asks, I will report what I see.
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â Not to my knowledge.
Q.Â How much of what Rory did at Kiawah and Sergio winning‑‑
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â It's been a couple of important weeks.Â There's a few moments over the summer where there was a bit of worries.Â One thing you have to always remember in this is that they have a team that's on very, very good form and have put in some very, very strong performances this year.Â Their team is very, very good.
When they play the way they have done, it leaves a little bit less room for our guys.Â But Kiawah was very important, and Sergio's win last week was also very important.Â It just gives a boost around the whole team.
There's signs from pretty much all of them at the moment that they are moving in the right direction.Â That's probably what you want to see as a captain, right now.Â What are we, five weeks away; just want to see them moving the right direction.Â They have had a little bit of a low, but now they will start moving well, and five weeks away is probably the perfect timing for all of them to be right on top of their game.
Q.Â With regards to Sergio, did you always think he would rekindle his affection for the game or was there ever a time where you thought he would never find it?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â He's a passionate guy, that's for sure.Â But he's ‑‑ when you've got his talent, you only need one or two weeks where it goes right and he starts finding all the love he has for the game.
There has been periods of the time for this year, where some of the things he's said and some of the ways he's been acting, you would start worrying, but he's got such a great talent and a great personality.
You know, he was always going to at some stage start showing it again, and maybe it came a little bit sooner than I thought.Â That's worked in favour of this Ryder Cup Team, that's for sure.Â I think he'll be a great addition, and he's a great addition now that he's made the team and he's not relying on somebody else to pick him.Â Now he's done his bit to get on the team.
And Sergio in The Ryder Cup reminds me very much of the way the captain is in The Ryder Cup.Â He'll go out and reproduce and he'll play with everything he has because he absolutely loves it.Â I think that's probably the best thing that's happened to him in a long time; not winning Wyndham, but going to play in this team, that might just kick him off again and start him living his golf the way he should be.Â He's one of the finest I've ever seen and he should be enjoying it more than he has been enjoying it?
Q.Â Do you know if anybody knows what Ollie is thinking about the wild card?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â Sergio Gomez maybe (chuckles).Â It's right in front of you and you know what it's like; it's hard to look past number 20 on the list.Â So you have the names there in front of you.Â And everybody that's in there, they have to go and do something this week; if it's here or if it's in America, they have to go and do something and show that they want to be part of the team, and somebody will do and that will make him think.
But specifically what he's thinking, no.
Q.Â The passion that JosÃ© Maria brings to The Ryder Cup, everybody talks that, but are you able to give us an example of‑‑ again, everybody talks about what he said Saturday night at Celtic Manor ‑‑
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â What he's good at is when the team room gets a little bit too loud and a little bit too high up when things are going well, he's good at bringing it down, and he's also good at picking people up.Â He's always had a belief, it's not over until it's over.Â He speaks very well and he speaks very specific on how to handle the individual matches.Â Â He cries more than anybody else when we won and I think that shows you everything. Â He gives a 100 per cent.Â On that Sunday night, when it's over, it just all comes out.
And I think for him, it's the memory of Seve and it's the memories that they have together and how much he's learned from that that's made him the player that he's always been.Â You know, he's been one of the greatest that we ever had on this side of the Atlantic and I just think that all those memories and how much passion Seve had for The Ryder Cup, he tries to bring that to a new generation of players.Â That's a big task.
But I think he feels it's his responsibility to do that, and it's remarkable to be around, that's for sure.
Q.Â With the matches being over there, Is it better to go in as underdogs or favourites?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â Doesn't matter.Â It's about three days of playing well.Â They will get strongly behind their team this time around.Â But they have got to go and play well.Â Their advantage is that they know from week‑to‑week over there‑‑ this group of players, they play a lot of golf in America, they contend in America all the time and they know when they go up against an American on Sunday, there's not much cheering going on for them.Â They have to go and perform and they all know it but they also are all very capable of doing it.Â They have all done it.
So they know what they are going into.Â They are going into a very, very hard match.Â Chicago, you don't get sports fans like that in many places, and they will get behind their team, and they should.Â It's going to be extremely difficult for them. Â But there's not one person on the team that can't handle it.
I look at the way they handled themselves in major championships, and they all are capable of doing it.Â So I've got no worries about them.Â I just think they need to stick together as 12 and that's the most important thing and we have always done that.Â You come into these matches and 12 becomes one and that's the most important thing.
Q.Â Just wearing your chairman's hat, what's your view of how this worked out in terms of the flipping qualification order so that the Order of Merit came first?
THOMAS BJÃ–RN:Â I think the ten guys that are in this team now are the ten guys that have played the best.Â That's a credit to the qualification system.Â I can't see it any other way.Â We have got the ten best players in Europe playing in this team, and that's the most important thing.
So the qualification system is the way it should be for us.Â It allows to you play golf worldwide.Â It allows you if you want to go and play golf in America, it allows you to do that, and these are the ten best players in Europe.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports