Bjorn Moves Past Open Collapse


For better or worse, a players entire career can be narrow mindedly encapsulated in one round ' or even on one hole.
Thomas Bjorns golfing career is far from over, but there is chance that many a year from the present what stands out most now may also then.
Bjorn is a seven-time winner on the European Tour. He beat Tiger Woods head-to-head over 72 holes in Dubai. He is a member of two European Ryder Cup teams ' both victorious.
Yet it is because of one round, more so one hole for which his name rings with many in the public.
Bjorn was leading the Open Championship at Royal St. Georges by two strokes when he approached the 70th hole. His tee shot on the par-3 16th landed on the green, but rolled off into the right greenside bunker. It took three more swings before he was back on the putting surface for good.
He made double bogey ' after having bogeyed the 15th ' and then bogeyed 17. He went from major champion to major meltdown in just span of three holes, eventually losing to Ben Curtis by a stroke.
Bjorn handled himself impressive well in the aftermath, speaking candidly, not making excuses and giving Curtis credit for his victory.
And as a result, Bjorn has endeared himself to fans on both sides of the Atlantic, much in the same way Greg Norman did in 1996, and Jean Van de Velde did in 99.
Everybody has been very supportive, Bjorn said Wednesday. That gives you a great feeling.
I just feel like people felt for what happened and, obviously, I was very disappointed at the time. I feel like I put it behind me.
Publicly, Bjorn says he has separated himself from the final incidents at Royal St. Georges. The distance between is debatable.
You can only continue to look to the future and do the right things. I was disappointed at the time, but I dont live four or five weeks ago. I live now and now we are looking at the U.S. PGA Championship, he said.
The British Open is the British Open. Its long gone and theres nothing that I can do about it.
This is the 32-year-old Danes seventh PGA appearance. He has only once cracked the top 40, but that came in a third-place finish in 2000 at Valhalla.
Bjorn admits this week at Oak Hill will be a stern test, but he says he is prepared, and that his newly revamped game ' one that has taken form much earlier than anticipated ' should hold up under the intensely difficult conditions.
I feel confident. I believe in my game at the moment, he said. I feel like I can go a long way this week. Its one of those golf courses that when I set foot on it, I felt like, well, it suits the strengths of my game, being my iron play, and certainly you have to putt well around here.
After all, how hard can this week be compared the last four.
It was difficult, he said, But I dont really walk around every day thinking about it.
You can only go away from that and say, well, I learned a lot this week and Ill go onto this week, and if its not this week, Ill play four more majors next year and Ill try every single time.
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