It really comes as no surprise that Thomas Bjorn has been named as one of European Captain Henrik Stenson’s vice-captain’s for the next Ryder Cup in Italy.
The 51-year-old Bjorn was announced today (Wednesday) by his fellow Scandinavian as Europe seek to regain the trophy from Zach Johnson’s USA-led team later next year in Rome.
It will be Bjorn’s fifth stint as a vice-captain, while he was also captain when Europe humbled the Jim Furyk led USA side at the Le National on the outskirts of Versailles in 2018.
“I trust him implicitly,” Stenson said of Bjorn, “and I know any advice he will give me will be honest and direct.
“He will not simply tell me what he thinks I want to hear and that will be important.”
Bjorn said he presumed his days in a leadership role at Ryder Cups were over after 2018.
“But Henrik called me to talk about captaincy in general,” Bjorn said, “and that led to him asking me if I wanted to do another stint as vice captain, which I agreed to.”
Others expected to be chosen by Stenson to act as vice-captains, and if they do not qualify automatically, will be Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and fellow Swede Robert Karlsson.
Bjørn’s Ryder Cup career began under Seve Ballesteros in 1997 when he became the first Dane to represent Europe and Valderrama became the first course in continental Europe to host the contest. He won one-and-a-half points from his two matches in Spain, partnering Ian Woosnam to defeat Justin Leonard and Brad Faxon in the fourballs, and then halving with Leonard in the singles.
He then contributed two points from his four matches at The Belfry in 2002, teaming up with Darren Clarke to defeat Tiger Woods and Paul Azinger in the fourballs, and beating Stewart Cink 2&1 in the singles.
His third appearance as a player came 12 years later when he qualified for Paul McGinley’s team at Gleneagles in 2014, where he partnered Martin Kaymer to earn half a point against Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker in the Friday fourballs.
Bjørn was also part of Team Europe’s backroom team on three occasions in between those playing appearances, firstly as Vice Captain to Bernhard Langer at Oakland Hills in 2004, then Colin Montgomerie at The Celtic Manor Resort in 2010 and José María Olazábal at Medinah in 2012.
After playing in the 2014 victory in Gleneagles, he then returned to the role of Vice Captain under Darren Clarke in 2016, experiencing his only defeat to date in the Ryder Cup arena at Hazeltine National.
Bjørn, who has won 15 times on the DP World Tour to date, was then selected as the European Captain in 2018 as Le Golf National, in Paris, became the second venue in continental Europe to host the Ryder Cup.
He oversaw a comprehensive 17½-10½ victory in France, with Stenson’s contributing three points from his three matches as Europe extended its unbeaten home record to six consecutive editions dating back to Bjørn’s debut in 1997.
Bjørn will now be part of Captain Stenson’s support team at Marco Simone when Italy hosts the Ryder Cup for the first time.