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January 28, 2014

Thomas Bjorn


THOMAS BJÖRN:  It was a good one, a long time ago, special four days, Tiger being right at the top of the game of golf so far ahead of everybody else and every time he teed it up, it was always expected of him to win, and to play with him for four days and kind of hang in there, hang in there, hang in there all the way, the first few days we played unbelievable and the weekend became just a toss up between us.
At the time it was very rare that anybody beat him when they got into that position.  So it was a special occasion and a special four days and something that I certainly always felt like was probably one of the, one of the highlights of what I had done, it was very special.

Q.  What about the latter stages of the final round, the ebb and flow, tell us your memory of the last few holes?
THOMAS BJÖRN:  After nine holes, it was kind of all of a sudden, it was three guys in it and then after ten‑‑ it was back to the two of us and it just became a shot for shot thing.
And always trailing by one or two, and on 17, holed a putt on top of him there and drew level and probably the tournament really deserved it, because it had been such a long haul for both of us.  To walk down the 18th level, and very rarely he makes mistakes in those situations and he did there and I was fortunate to draw the luck there.
It was a hard‑fought battle and I always felt like the only thing I could do was hang onto his shirt tails for the duration of the round and see where it took me.  I was never really‑‑ I was never really playing the man.  I was always just pretty much playing myself and the golf course and trying to do the best I can do and forcing it in the end to come out on top.  It was a special‑‑ special week and it was a special week for this tournament as well.

Q.  Do you remember on the 18th tee, just getting the honour birdieing 17, was there pressure to put it in the fairway?
THOMAS BJÖRN:  The tee shot set up better for me than him.  I could get up in two and kind of let him think about the tee shot.  We spoke about it afterwards and he made a promise to himself that when he had a chance to hit high draws off the tee he was going to do that to prepare himself for Augusta.  I thought, this is a difficult tee shot, if it goes straight‑‑ goes in the trees and a long one it goes in the water or the left, there's big trees to carry there.
I always felt it was a more difficult tee shot for him than me.  I was so much focussed on what I had to do and trying to make 4 at the last to give myself a chance of a playoff or winning the tournament, that was on my mind but it was certainly always a more tough tee shot for him than me.

Q.  Talk about this place, the first time you ever visited and saw this course in the middle of the desert, what did you think?
THOMAS BJÖRN:  It's fantastic, you come down here, you're a young kid and I came here first time in '96 and it was a long drive from the city out here to the middle of the desert to find a golf course and seeing the place develop over the years has been amazing.  It's grown from a little unknown dune that nobody knew about back then to one of the tourist destinations of the world.  It's remarkable.  But it was a very different place to come to.
The first time you set foot here, you realized you were in a place that loves sport and loves people and loves different people and embraces everything that goes on.  This tournament has been probably a favourite of the players over the years and for the reasons what it provides, the fantastic facilities, a great city and provides a golf course that's magnificent every year.  It's just a favourite stop really.

Q.  Any anecdotes when you first came here, camels strolling across fairways, anything like that?
THOMAS BJÖRN:  Not really.  It was starting slowly then.  I'm fortunate to be part of a family that's been coming back here since the 70s.  It's a place of just that keeps surprising you with how good it is.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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