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Bjorn to be riled

  • Iain Carter - Radio Five Live golf correspondent
  • 6 Sep 06, 03:50 PM

Iain_carter55x55.jpgCRANS-SUR-SIERRE - So Thomas Bjorn apologises to Ian Woosnam and the Tour fines him £10,000.

I’m finding that locker-room opinion on 'Bjorngate' is split. Two senior players I’ve spoken to believed the Dane had every right to speak out and didn’t deserve his punishment.

Moments later, I spoke to a couple of the more rank-and-file members of the Tour who were outraged at Bjorn’s reaction.

They pointed out that his outburst was unwarranted because he finished 13th on the qualifying table, so there were two players (Paul Broadhurst and Johan Edfors) who had more pressing claims on a pick.

You know, all this angst may be down to the stresses of life on the road. It’s not easy. Here’s why this week - my hotel has only a hand-held shower in the bath.

When I ran the taps on full power they were switched to the shower unit which then shot around the bathroom at full pelt like a rearing cobra drenching your bleary-eyed reporter in the process!

A player staying in the same establishment confessed to suffering similarly.

And here’s one from another senior Tour member with no Ryder Cup axe to grind, Kiwi Stephen Scahill. A joke against himself and his peers.

"How many professional golfers does it take to fit a lightbulb? One – he holds it in the socket and waits for the world to revolve around him!"

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:57 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Greg K wrote:

I don't think anyone can say Broadhurst or Edfors had more 'pressing claims' for a pick. Edfors' good golf is very good but his poor golf is a lot worse than that of the top players. And imagine picking 'pea-shooter' Broadhurst and watching Mickelson & co airmailing his drives with their 3 woods. It just wouldn't be fair on him would it!

  • 2.
  • At 07:12 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Jon W wrote:

Paul Broadhurst is a far better golfer than his record suggests. He has struggled with injury for quite a long while and now that he is fit again is producing good results. His reactions in adversity was laudable. He certainly didn't let anybody down at Kiowa Island when he played as a rookie.
Bjorn has in the past displayed character defects and his latest highly ill advised performance underlines this. Perhaps he is better suited to football.

  • 3.
  • At 07:16 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Frank Hunt wrote:

The European Tour, it's supporters and sponsors deserve much better than the 'Amateur' communication skills and out-dated PR methods so evident in the announcment of the Ryder Cup team and resulting unseemly 'scrap'. Woosnam looked out of his depth at the Press conference. This could be easily avoided by the mega-wealthy European Tour.
Many comments heard and read about Thomas Bjorn's outburst are resoundingly 'Status Quo' in nature.

Something provokes me to call for Three Cheers for Danish Passion!

  • 4.
  • At 09:00 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Campbell wrote:

Good God - does this mean that all golfers are to be silenced and may never say what they think. What a terrible place this would be after that then.

I personally feel that if Bjorn has something to say, so long as he can substantiate his argument he has every right to say it. If the PGA doesnt the problem lies with them not the player.

Actually, Bjorns record is that he has worried more opponents than Broadhurst has had hot dinners. The Ryder cup is about winning with the best possible team - Bjorn is a true grit player and has a right to feel badly treated and say that he feels badly treated.

Personally I feel the problem lis with the captain. I wouldn't have picked him in a fit.

  • 5.
  • At 09:14 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Allan wrote:

I am amazed at all the fuss. Thomas Bjorn was disappointed to find out he wasnt in the Ryder Cup team on TV, which is the same as everyone else who hadnt qualified. Was Ian Woosnam supposed to tell everyone face to face?

  • 6.
  • At 09:19 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Shaun Lowrie wrote:

Still my favourite headline of the year so far is 'Westwood happy with Woosie's pick'

  • 7.
  • At 10:24 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Steven wrote:

Woosie was really in a no win situation. As soon as Clarke made himself available he was an automatic pick. I think the whole world then thought it was a straight pick between Westwood and Bjorn. Both would have been good picks and both would be dissappointed not to be picked.

Woosie has gone with his instinct and picked Westwood.

Dissappointing to see Bjorn react so angrily.

Bjorn's non-selection may have raised a few eyebrows. His outburst may have raised a few more. However, neither events would have raised his own. They're far too heavy, you see.

I don't blame him although I feel he would bave been better advised to aim his opinion at Woosnam directly in private, rather than publicly.

Westwood will acquit himself well in the Ryder Cup, I am sure. Anyone who has ever followed his career will surely have noticed that he plays his best golf late in the season.

  • 9.
  • At 06:42 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • John Holland wrote:

It seems to me that all the hype of the Ryder Cup is getting out of hand.

Years ago when the Americans had four or five times as many people to choose from, we weren't happy to get a drubbing every time the event came round, so we wanted a European team where we had a larger population to choose from.

Let's face it, we have promoted this attitude that 'we just have to beat the USA at all costs.'

Even normal televised golf events on the USGA Tour have not only a 'European Leader Board' but also an 'International Leader Board.'

Perhaps we should invite some Martians to play, and have a 'Galactic Leaderboard!' Personally I think it's pathetic and bordering on the obscene.

This attitude also lends itself to the Ryder Cup - we have to have a World List for selection purposes, to make sure we have all our options covered.

Isn't the purpose of the Ryder Cup to promote the European Tour? If so, why select players who haven't earned the right to selection through solely its events?
Which brings us to the question of 'Wild Picks.'

The Thomas Bjorn saga was waiting to happen, born out of a flawed system and emotive hype. Needless to say, many persons would like even more Wild Picks - to increase further our chances.

So why not get rid of the problem and just select the top twelve on the European Tour? Yet that wouldn't do, would it?

We just have beat these Americans at all costs, and the simple enjoyment of the golf has become secondary.

And if we lose.........

Well, the last time we lost, all that brouhaha about the USA players running on the green when Justin Lennard sank a long putt.

The fact that Garcia and Parnevik did the same thing several times earlier in the same event - or the spectators booing every American's missed putt at the Belfry - doesn't matter because it's only the Americans who are unsporting! I wonder who we'll blame this time round if the unthinkable happens...and we lose?

  • 10.
  • At 07:53 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • verney wrote:

Warrented reaction from the Dane. I know in my sporting life if your not picked you are told in advance and given a good reason why you have not been selected. This is a fundamental rule in managing anything?

Would Woozy react if in a similar circumstance? Has he been in a similar situation?

I am happy anyway "Mr 15 clubs in my bag" will be swinging something other than a golfclub during the week. Btw, I must say I do agree with the pick he made, Westwoods strokeplay performance is not the best, but he has proved that matchplay is his pref.

  • 11.
  • At 09:22 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Pete wrote:

Disagree with Greg K's comments about "pea shooter" Broadhurst. As many bloggers - avid golfers all - will know, being the shorter hitter off the tee is frequently an advantage in match play, providing of course you are hitting the greens and staying out of trouble.

In fact, Mickelson v Broadhurst sounds a bit like Mickelson v Price ... and we know who won that singles at The Belfry don't we?

  • 12.
  • At 09:29 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Stuart wrote:

I was appalled at the way the press conference was conducted and by the schoolboy approach of the captain. He stated that he had spoken to a few past captains and it later came out that he had not spoken to Langer, but the American’s already had.

You could just sense the anguish in his eyes when he found out. This just confirms my thoughts that he is out of his depth and his handling of the team selection has only contributed to a split in the team.

Hopefully, once the event starts, the team will put all this behind them and go on and win for themselves, not the captain!

  • 13.
  • At 11:00 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • colin wrote:

Why have wild cards, let the Ryder Cup list decide, the true order is there thats how it should stand. Broadhurst & Edifors did there part, it picks its self and it saves all the agro & fuss.

  • 14.
  • At 11:16 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Gibson wrote:

Isn't it time this whole storm in a teacup was put to rest. If you want to get involved with slanging matches go and watch daytime TV.

By the way, Iain Carter, if the pressure of your job is too much, I'll do you a swap anytime. As for players who can't operate a shower without their manager to switch it on for them, just remind them about the time not so long ago when players were so poor they were driving from event to event and sleeping in their cars!!

  • 15.
  • At 11:51 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Jonesy wrote:

Got to say Verney that the system as it is just does not allow time for each individual in contention to have a full personal explanation from the Captain as to why he has made his picks before the announcement is made.

This could involve four or five people and it is just not practical under the current system.

Remember that this is not a question of Woosie not wanting to confront Bjorn, because Westwood left as well without knowing that he had been picked.

Bjorn just threw out his toys and is out of order. Technically there were players ahead of him in the rankings who deserved an explanation before him.

Maybe the American way with the Monday announcement is worth considering for us - may become a joint press conference in the future - as it is funny having the announcements two weeks apart.

Captains picks are exactly that and nobody has the right to expect and assume anything. Look at the good grace Darren Clarke showed with his comments - 'I would be honoured to play if selected etc'

I think Woosie has had some unfair stick over this and that Bjorn has behaved like small child.

  • 16.
  • At 01:22 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • BJ wrote:

Don't think Woosnam handled things very well at all. He said he told Clarke on Thurs but didn't make up his mind till the last minute on the other wild card, so late that he couldn't even tell Westwood before the press conference.

Everyone knew who the favourites were in the running for the places. I think Woosnam should have spoken to them all beforehand, and not let them find it out in the press. Would have avoided a lot of controversy.

  • 17.
  • At 01:51 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Jonesy wrote:

It is a difficult one.

I heard Mark James on the radio this week saying that he prefers little communication with the fringe players leading up to the last qualifying event.

If you recall Woosie asked not to play with any fringe players but played with Donald and Howell last week who had clearly qualified.

If you are not careful you could end up promising players a pick if they play here or there or have a top ten finish somewhere and before you know it the whole thing is all over the place.

Clarke was the stand out candidate so I think telling him early was fine - especially after what he has been through the earlier he knew the better.

Woosie is not at his best in front of the press but the controversy has been totally caused by the childish behaviour of Bjorn.

The American system is worth considering.

  • 18.
  • At 02:17 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Andy (Taunton) wrote:

The truth of the matter is that the phoney war has started and until the shooting starts in earnest everything gets blown out of proportion.

Sure Woosie is not at his best in front of the press and it sounds like his communication skills were not brilliant but I feel a lot of the comments have been massively disrespectful and he deserves better.

If we lose a match we are favourites for I will be able to understand such emotive comments but based on what has happened so far the criticism feels unjustified.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion but methinks some people are abusing the privilege.

I hope Woosie is more thick skinned than I would be in the same circumstances as I know where I would be sticking that 15th club!!!!

  • 19.
  • At 03:04 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Vic wrote:

Not impressed so far with the captaincy of Woosie. The Ryder Cup is a very high-pressure environment, and decisions have to be right first time. I don't believe that Woosie has shown the right attributes so far with his handling of the media etc.

I still think though that Europe will retain the Cup, as the players will require little or no motivation.

Bring it on!

  • 20.
  • At 03:11 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • john gale wrote:

Bjorn's behaviour was to me not unexpected.

We have seen him ranting and raving before - he is a great golfer but has a distinct temperament problem and I believe he would be a better golfer if he learned to calm down.

  • 21.
  • At 04:32 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Darren wrote:

Iain, want to comment on the latest Michelle Wie appearence in a Mens event. Looking at +5 through 13 at CRANS-SUR-SIERRE surely this now should put all this to bed as we say that she should NOT be playing in Mens events. I do not care if she now makes 10 birdies and the cut the point is she should be trying to dominate the LPGA tour not appearing with the Men. Until she does an Annika, wins 10 majors and blows away the oppostion every week she should stay put with ladies. Clue here is that Annika has no desire to play Mens tour golf as she admits she is not good enough, Wie should take note as should the greedy sponsers.

  • 22.
  • At 04:41 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Jeff Barnes wrote:

What a contrast there is between Woosnam's stumbling, bungling captaincy so far and the professional way that Herr Langer handled things last time around. Woosnam could never be called 'a charismatic leader of men'in the mould of Seve, Bernhard and Sam and I fear he is out of his depth.

Let's just hope the players pull together and win the thing despite him.

  • 23.
  • At 06:45 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Jet wrote:

Great golfer, poor leader. As soon as I heard Ian Woosnam was to be Captain ..... I expect a European loss.

  • 24.
  • At 12:49 AM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Chu C wrote:

We all know that Westwood has not been playing optimal golf in the last couple of years - his form fluctuates so much. Woosie did himself no favours by saying past results influenced him as it left him open to the question "when".

Bjorn has played better than him over the past two years and has a better major record over the same period too. My main problem was why the phonecall on the day to westwood and not one earlier to those from 11-20 not considered. Faldo might be slightly stuck up, but he would have treated them like men and not boys which is what tipped Bjorn over the edge.

  • 25.
  • At 07:02 PM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • jc wrote:

My heart sunk in the press conference when Woosie obviously had no idea what the hell was going on. He spoke of getting ideas off captains but had failed to speak to Europe's most succesful one.. strange.

And then his school boy reaction about Langer speaking to Lehman spoke volumes about how much he was caught out.

He used the same line a couple of times that Europe would do what they always had done. This too worries me, any sportsman will tell you that you have to continue adapting and evolving and not just stay with the same old methods.

It seems that Lehman has so far called all the right shots with the Americans even managing to get Tiger and Phil to fly over to the K Club the evening after the NEC had finished. Woosie just seem to suggest that it was difficult to get everybody together and that it might not happen. A little concerning. If we had James/Ballesterous/Langer or my mum I would fancy our chances. But with Woosie, who knows..

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