Bjorn regaining form on European Tour
Monday, February 14, 2011
RABAT, Morocco – Thomas Bjorn is back to his best despite taking on more than he previously thought he could handle.
The veteran European Tour player closed with a 6-under 67 at the Hassan II Trophy to finish on 13 under for the week. He placed 13th to continue a run of good form.
Bjorn resigned his chairmanship of the European Tour’s tournament committee last year to concentrate more on his game than serving the needs of European Tour members. He discovered why previous chairman Jamie Spence’s game went downhill: It isn’t easy to deal with players’ complaints about the quality of sandwiches in the players’ lounge 30 minutes before you are due to tee off.
However, the Dane has agreed to resume his chairmanship until George O’Grady comes back to his post full-time. O’Grady has been on temporary leave lately to help wife Barbara through illness.
Barbara O’Grady is a long time MS sufferer who took a turn for the worse when she suffered an aneurysm on Boxing Day last year. O’Grady has been working part-time ever since, leaving Keith Waters, the tour’s chief operating officer and director of international affairs, in temporary charge.
“I didn’t think it was fair to resign my position while George was going through this time,” Bjorn said. “I will stay as chairman until George comes back.”
There is no indication as to when that might be. Barbara O’Grady is in hospital in Maidenhead, England, near the European Tour’s headquarters at Virginia Waters. The European Tour chief spends most days at his wife’s bedside as she tries to regain her health.
As for Bjorn, he is aiming to get back to the form that saw him make two Ryder Cup appearances. That hasn’t been easy in the last few years bearing the weight of the European Tour on his shoulders.
However, the 39-year-old decided it was time for a change.
“I just knuckled down and started to find my way on the golf course again. I’ve been playing pretty well since the start of the year so this is no surprise.
“The only thing that let me down this week was my putting. Other than that I played OK.”
Among the things Bjorn has done to regain his form is to reappoint sports psychologist Jos Vanstiphout. Bjorn worked with the Belgian in the late 1990s and early 2000s when Bjorn had his best years. The Dane spent 11 years between 1995 and 2006 when he only slipped outside the tour’s top 20 once, finishing 21st in 2004.
After missing three straight cuts at the start of the year, Bjorn has finished T-43, eighth, T-15, T-19 and 13th in his last five starts.
“I’m starting to feel capable of good golf again,” he said.