By News Team
Last Updated: 13th July 2021
Twice Open Championship runner-up, Thomas Bjorn, has told William Hill that the fourth and final Major of the year is easily the best tournament of the golfing year.
The Danish pro is looking forward to the Sandwich event and has stressed the reasons behind his belief that the Open is the most eagerly anticipated Major of the year.
He said: “There’s no doubt it’s the greatest championship in the world. It’s a championship that when you get there, you feel everything that golf is – the history, the interaction with the fans and the golf courses. It’s a wonderful event to be part of.
“It’s such a week for the players. It’s so different to what we experience week in, week out. It’s a real pleasure to be part of.”
This year’s Open Championship takes place at Royal St George’s and speaking to 20-time Champion Jump jockey and William Hill ambassador Sir AP McCoy, Bjorn said the course in Kent is one of the tougher layouts on the Open circuit: “It’s a tricky golf course. It asks a lot of questions of you and it has a few holes towards the end, especially 17 and 18, where you’ve got to be right on it.
“It’s the ability to navigate your way around there. There are plenty of times on that golf course when questions are going to be asked of you and it’s about making the right decisions in those moments which is where it’s won and lost.”
The Dane knows Royal St George’s well having played the last two Opens there, but it’s his mishap in a bunker on the 16th hole in 2003 which most remember him for. However, it’s an unfortunate event that Bjorn doesn’t lose too much sleep over these days.
When asked if he has nightmares about the moment, he replied: “Not anymore! At the time, I always very much believed I was going to have another moment and unfortunately in the Open I never really did, so of course it was a shame I didn’t get over the line.
“However, I always go back to when I started playing golf and what my dreams and aspirations were when I was growing up. Getting on the European Tour was a big achievement for a Danish golfer, so to get in a position where you get these opportunities, I prefer to look at the great things that golf has given me.”
Bjorn finished runner-up in two Opens, and he pinpointed that it’s the mental game more so than the physical one which is the key to contending in the unique test the tournament presents.
He commented: “I think it’s the staying in the tournament and the mental game that’s got to be on. People that are there for the long-run, not people that run out of the blocks and shoot 64 on the first day. It’s people that have the ability to not make mistakes – they are the ones that appear on Sunday.
“I think that’s why a guy like Brooks Koepka has been so successful in Majors. He has the ability to hang in there and accelerate at the right time.”
More recently, the Dane led Europe to a famous victory in the Ryder Cup in Paris and in doing so continued a dominant spell for the Europeans – one which Bjorn believes is down to culture.
“When you grow up on the European Tour, a lot more things happen together across a number of different countries and the players spend a lot of time together. The PGA Tour is a little more family-orientated and the guys quite often don’t spend that much time together off the course.
“When the Europeans walk into the team room it’s just easier for us to gel. We all really get on with each other and everyone feels very at ease with how things are done. There are no stars or non-stars, it’s just a group of guys trying to achieve something together.”
Padraig Harrington leads the European team this year and Bjorn is confident the Irishman will do a good job at the helm.
He said: “He has an ability to ride a wave of European success and the players that he has will feel comfortable about being in a Ryder Cup.
“I think he’ll be a brilliant captain because he’s very respected. He has a history with him as a golfer with what he’s achieved. He has all the ability to deliver great captaincy.”