Great expectations for Bjorn as he returns to home-soil

Phil Casey 07:30 14/08/2014
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Denmark’s finest: Thomas Bjorn is delighted professional golf has returned to his home country after a gap of 11 years.

‘Great Dane’ Thomas Bjorn hopes he can seal his Ryder Cup place on home soil this week at a venue where he claimed his first profes­sional win almost 20 years ago.

Bjorn has not played in the bi­ennial contest against the United States since 2002, but has occupied an automatic qualifying spot since winning the Nedbank Golf Chal­lenge in December last year.

The 43-year-old dropped out of the European points list recently and is now relying on the world points list, but looks to have done enough to make the European team which will defend the trophy at Gle­neagles in September.

Including this week, only three qualifying events remain before the nine automatic qualifiers are decid­ed at the end of the Italian Open on August 31. European captain Paul McGinley then names his three wild cards on September 2.

“I feel like I’ve played a lot of golf and I would like to think by the end of Denmark, I’m set for the Ryder Cup, but if I’m not I’ll have to recon­sider,” Bjorn said.

The inaugural Made In Denmark event has sold out with more than 70,000 spectators expected at Him­merland Golf Resort, where Bjorn won on the Challenge Tour in 1995.

That was one of four wins which ensured he finished top of the Chal­lenge Tour rankings that season, although he admits he struggles to remember much about it.

“This is a challenging course,” he said yesterday. “It’s a long course and tough. It provides a lot of op­portunities though. You have to have an all-round game to succeed.

“It is not a bomber’s paradise but it’s not by any means a tactician’s course either. Certain elements of the course will suit one player and certain elements will suit another.

“The course has changed com­pletely since I was here in 1995 so it is a different track really. But I have some nice memories obviously, if I can remember that far back.

“It’s nice to come back to a place where you have had success be­fore, but that doesn’t always mean anything in golf. It is the game of the week that is important, not the game of yesteryear.”

Bjorn will spearhead a strong home challenge which also features the likes of Morten Orum Madsen, Thorbjorn Olesen, Soren Kjeldsen and Anders Hansen.

“It’s been a while since we have had a tournament in Denmark (the Nordic Open was won by Ian Poul­ter in 2003) and from all angles it looks like it is going to be a success­ful event,” Bjorn added.

“That is the most important thing for all the Danish players, that we can come home and have a celebra­tion of Danish golf.

“We want to celebrate the suc­cess we have had on the golf course, but we also want to show that while we are a small country we have the capability of holding an event at this level.

"From the start, we have trusted this was going to be a good event and we are now all very excit­ed about the next four days.” 

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