Bjorn hoping for Ryder Cup wildcard
22 Aug 2012 - 15:17:08
European vice-captain Thomas Bjorn has not ruled himself out of being afforded a wildcard pick for next month's Ryder Cup.
Bjorn was approached by European captain Jose Maria Olazabal at the recent PGA Championship at Kiawah Island and asked to become one of his four vice-captains for the tournament at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois.
The 41-year-old Dane, who was also a vice-captain under Colin Montgomerie in 2010 at Celtic Manor, happily agreed, despite still being in the frame for a wildcard pick.
Now, on the eve of his defence of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, which is also the final Ryder Cup qualifying event, Bjorn revealed he has not given up hope of being picked for the September 25-30 competition.
"I don't think when Jose Maria asked me to be a vice-captain he was ruling me out of playing on the team," said Bjorn.
"So, I think he realises that there are certain people, if they go and play well this week and win this week, he'll have to think about them.
"Going back two years, Edoardo (Molinari) had to win here to get on the team, and he did, and that changed Monty's way of thinking a little bit on the Sunday.
"But if you come here and feel like you've got a chance, and you win, then you probably deserve a spot.
"So, I am sure Jose Maria will think about anybody who wins this week. But then I also know there's only way of getting him to think that and that's winning this week."
Bjorn, who played in both the 1997 and 2002 European winning teams, is currently lying 16th in the Ryder Cup qualifying table and knows that if he were to win he would not break inside the top-10 automatic qualifiers.
If he were to be considered as a wildcard pick, he would no doubt need to successfully defend his Gleneagles title.
Two years ago, Italy's Edoardo Molinari did just that, winning the Johnnie Walker Championship and forcing Montgomerie's hand, despite finishing just one place outside of automatically qualifying for the team.
And with the Ryder Cup now just five weeks away, Bjorn believes recent European Team success in Rory McIlroy's PGA Championship triumph and Sergio Garcia's win in the Wyndham Championship has been a big boost in confidence for the Europeans.
"It's been a couple of important weeks," said Bjorn.
"There were a few months over the summer when there was a bit of worries. But you have to always remember that the US have a team that's on very, very good form and have put in some very, very strong performances this year.
"Their team is very, very good. So, when they play the way they have done, it leaves a little less room for our guys. But Kiawah was very important, and Sergio's win last week was also very important.
"It just gives a boost around the whole team. There are signs from pretty much all in the team at the moment that they are moving in the right direction, and that's probably what you want to see as a captain, right now.
"We are five weeks away and five weeks away is probably the perfect timing for all of them to be right on top of their game."