Interviews
Thomas Bjørn (Getty Images)
Interviews

Europe

Bjørn keeping his focus on Europe

Thomas Bjørn was keeping his focus on the golf and off the expectation game as the opening tee-shots of the Ryder Cup edged closer at Le Golf National.

For the first time in Ryder Cup history the entire top ten in the Official World Golf Ranking is taking part in the biennial spectacular, with every player ranked inside the top 50.

Since the tie in 1989, six of the 13 Ryder Cups have been decided by a single point and while the Americans may have the edge in the World Rankings, Bjørn is not sure that will have a major effect come Friday morning.

“You can line them up in World Rankings or in achievements. My job is to create a process,” he said.

“Are we underdogs? Probably on paper we are but we still believe that we can win. We still believe that we can go out and do a job on the golf course and we concentrate on us. We concentrate on what we do, our pairings, the people in our team room and everything around that and try and create the best possible environment for those 12, and that's my job.

“That's the only thing I can focus on. I can't focus on if we are underdogs or if we are favourites because that gives me nothing.

“I was asked the same yesterday about winning or losing or whatever, I don't allow myself to get to that moment on Sunday where that's what I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about what's right in front of me. 

“Are we in for something special? These teams are the two best teams World Ranking-wise that have been across from each other in this event. It's all lined up to be something special, so it's for those 24 players to go out and show that.

“The surroundings - the golf course, the stands, the fans, all the build-up of being in this great city, as well - I think that just adds on for it to be a really, really special occasion for the Ryder Cup and for the game of golf.”

Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Robert Karlsson, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood may be Bjørn's Vice Captains but he has brought a local edge into his backroom team with the addition of Frenchmen Grégory Havret and Raphaël Jacquelin.

Both men have had long and distinguished careers on the European Tour and Bjørn is delighted to have the local favourites on board.

“This country has great players and when you take certain players that have had such long-standing careers on Tour they are very much part of what we are as a European Tour,” he said.

"I wanted their involvement for two reasons: they are French, people know them, it's nice to be out on the golf course with them. A lot of the French fans recognise them and want to have a chat with them and get behind them being there.

“And second of all because I really like them, they are really good friends of mine, I get on really well with them. I know they will do a job for us, they will give everything for those players on that team so that's why they are there. 
“They are great people to have around and they understand their role. They understand when the players are doing their thing, they go and sit in the corner and have a nice glass of red wine and that's what they do and then they get involved when it's right.

“But they are so good in picking their moments to be involved and all those 12 players in that team feel great about them, so that's why they are there.”