Tuesday, September 6

Bjorn Again—Ryder Cup Captaincy Ahead?

Editor’s note: Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission. 

By Brian Keogh

Courtesy of CallwayGolf.com
PAUL MCGINLEY FANS WILL BE appalled but Thomas Bjorn must be regarded as a likely candidate to skipper Europe when the Ryder Cup is played at Gleneagles in 2014. Judging by the blistering 62 he shot to win the Omega European Masters and jump to the top of the 2012 Ryder Cup qualifying table, the 40-year old Dane is playing well enough to make the 2014 team as a player. After all, his four-shot triumph over Martin Kaymer was his second win in a row and his third of the year.

Add to that the fact that he finished fourth in the Open and he fits the identikit picture of a Ryder Cup captain that McGinley and others declared as the standard when Colin Montgomerie was given the role two years ago.

Bjorn is very much a respected, current player but along with Darren Clarke, he is also the biggest threat to McGinley’s hopes of winning the ‘14 captaincy. The list of those likely to succeed Jose Maria Olazabal is not massively long but while it was always assumed that Clarke or Bjorn would do the job in the US in 2016, leaving 2014 to McGinley, that is far from clear cut with three years to go before the next home match.

One thing is sure, like Clarke and McGinley, Bjorn would have the respect of the young guns on tour, such as Rory McIlroy. The 22-year old opened with two birdies in Crans to top the leaderboard but then missed a series of chances on the greens and by the time he made back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th, Bjorn was out of sight.

“I’ve really gotten to know Thomas well over the years,” said McIlroy, who finished five behind in joint third after a 68.

“He was assistant at the Ryder Cup and when I played the Vivendi in 2009, he was the captain of the European team. To shoot a 62 is very impressive and I don’t think I could have done anything to beat that.”

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.


Steve said...

Could he be a player/captain?

The Armchair Golfer said...

If he's still playing at this level in '14, that's possible, although the duties of captain can be fairly taxing.

Gareth @ Golf For Beginners said...

Whoever is chosen whether it Clarke, Bjorn or Mcginley doesn't really matter. I think European golf is doing fantastically at the moment and I have never seen it being so dominant. I think the americans at medinah next year will have a tough ask. In fact I think Fred Couples has a job to do at the Presidents cup this year at Melbourne.