Bjørn calls on home support on Paris visit
Thomas Bjørn returned to Paris today for the first time as European Ryder Cup Captain, symbolically visiting the Arc de Triomphe as he lays the foundations for what he hopes will be a European triumph in 2018.
Bjørn is in the French capital meeting the media and Federation Francais de Golf as he continues his planning for golf’s greatest team event at Le Golf National in 18 months’ time.
While qualification for the team does not start for another six months, Bjørn is eager to begin galvanising the home support that will be vital if Europe are to regain The Ryder Cup after relinquishing their grip on the trophy to an inspired Davis Love III-led US Team at Hazeltine last year.
"It's been a while since I've been in Paris, but I wanted to come here and get started and you can get an idea of what's ahead for French golf," Bjørn told Sky Sports News HQ.
"There's still a lot of planning ahead and it takes up a lot of time, but sometimes you realise that 18 months might not be enough time to prepare! Getting everything in place is a big task, but it's one I'm really looking forward to and I'm enjoying every moment of it.
"It's hugely important to get the French golf fans on board and make them realise why the Ryder Cup is coming to France. They have put a lot into golf over the years and have been growing the game in the country.
"You're not just here to represent Team Europe and the Ryder Cup, you're also here to do a lot of good for the sport and you need the public on your side. It's an education and a big package, but the public here will have a huge part to play in the success of the competition."
Bjørn, who tasted defeat for the first time in seven appearances as player and vice-captain last year as part of Darren Clarke’s backroom team, will lead Europe in Paris against a US team captained by Jim Furyk.
A packed itinerary saw the Dane travel to Paris on EuroStar before meeting the media, including representatives from, among others, Canal+, L’Equipe, Le Figaro, France Info, RTL, RMC Radion and BMC TV, Le Journal du Golf, le Parisien and le Monde at the Royal Monceau Hotel at the Arc de Triomphe.