Sept. 21-26, 2021 Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI
Photo Credit: Getty Images

As Thomas Bjørn turns 49 today, we take a look back on his record as a player and his sensational performance as captain of Team Europe at Le Golf National, in one of Europe’s most memorable victories.

The Dane has been part of Team Europe on eight occasions – three as a player, four as a vice captain and one as captain – winning on seven of those occasions.

The first of these appearances came back in 1997 at Valderrama, where a 26-year-old Bjørn was unbeaten in the two matches he played – defeating Brad Faxon and Justin Leonard alongside Ian Woosnam in the Saturday morning fourball session, and taking half a point again Leonard in the singles.

The 15-time European Tour winner picked up a further 2.5 points for Team Europe in seven matches at the 2002 and 2014 Ryder Cups respectively, including a 1up win alongside Darren Clarke against Paul Azinger and Tiger Woods in 2002. After serving as a vice captain under Bernhard Langer in 2004, Colin Montgomerie in 2010, José María Olazábal in 2012 and Darren Clarke in 2016, he made the step up to captain in 2018.

It was just the second occasion where The Ryder Cup had been held in Continental Europe when the duel visited Le Golf National, France, with USA the defending champions.

After a 3-1 defeat in the opening fourball session, Bjørn could have easily ripped up his plan and started again.

But he didn’t, and Europe went on to dominate The 2018 Ryder Cup running out 17.5 – 10.5 winners.

Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari, also known as ‘Moliwood’, formed a sensational partnership winning four out of four matches paired together – a European record, with Molinari claiming a record five out of five points. But the victory at Le Golf National was a true team effort, with each of the 12 players contributing at least one point, as Bjorn’s masterplan helped Team Europe extend its unbeaten record on home soil to six matches, dating back to Bjørn’s own playing debut in 1997

As you said, Thomas, “we’ll always have Paris,” so all we can say is Tillykke med fødselsdagen.

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