by Jeff Skinner
It is often said that golf is “the game of a lifetime.” Many golfers revel in the spirituality of the game as Tom Watson told us at Turnberry a few years ago. That was the case again yesterday as Thomas Bjorn continued his year of redemption with his second consecutive win on the European Tour at The Omega European Masters. He became the second player on the European Tour with three wins this season joining Luke Donald.
Bjorn came from three strokes back at the start of the final round and shot a sizzling 62 to leave him four clear of second place finisher Martin Kaymer. Bjorn’s ball striking was nearly perfect and his putting was better. But this win is about so much more than just getting the ball in the hole.
Bjorn had been a good player but certainly has had more than his share of tough times. He had a three stroke lead with four holes to play at the 2003 Open Championship when it took him three strokes to get out of a greenside bunker. He lost his best chance of winning a major there and that certainly had affected him over his career.
The past few years Bjorn had seen his game slip with fewer and fewer top finishes. But Bjorn never lost his love of the game or for the players in it. Bjorn has the reputation of a strong leader, fierce competitor and loyal friend.
He has played on winning Ryder Cup teams and his leadership skills have been recognized as he was a Captain for Continental Europe in the Vivendi Trophy along with Seve Ballesteros. He has been the Chairman of The European Tour’s Tournament Committee and has served as an Assistant Captain on two Ryder Cup Teams.
Few players are as respected on the European Tour. He has dedicated his career to the European Tour and no player, including Colin Montgomerie has had a more active role in the daily workings of that tour and its players.
Bjorn has admitted dealing with “the Demons” that many golfers face and difficulty getting over the death of his father this year. He was close to calling it a career, ready to step away from playing. But at 40 he has had a career year, a year that has cast out the demons and given him back that spirit which made him the competitor he once was.
Every week there are players in this game that are playing for so much more than a win. Thomas Bjorn had been playing the past few years because that is what he does, he’s a golfer. But this year has given Bjorn more than victories and trophies. At 40 years old Bjorn is rejuvenated and once again found that “game of a lifetime.”