European Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn has paid Rory McIlroy the ultimate compliment saying he would pay to watch the four-time Major winner play.
Thomas Bjorn / Image from Getty Images
Bjorn was speaking ahead of this week’s 100th PGA Championship being staged at the Bellerive Country Club course in suburban St. Louis, Missouri.
However, after century high temperatures greeted players on Monday and the first day of official practice, the course was closed early Tuesday local time due to thunderstorms and lightning.
As is customary, Bjorn was afforded an invitation as the European Team captain to tee-up this week in what will be the Dane’s 17th PGA Championship since making his debut in 1997.
But with his duties as European Ryder Cup, captain Bjorn has played just 13 events this year having made the halfway cut in six and a best finish of T30th in his very first event of 2018 – the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
In contrast, McIlroy has played a full schedule, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour and finishing runner-up in Abu Dhabi along with finishing second in the BMW PGA Championship and joint runner-up in The Open.
Though on the other side of the coin there was the scenario last week when McIlroy was shouldered aside by Justin Thomas in the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational, failing to make any impression on the winning American.
And while McIlroy is top of the ‘World’ points list and is assured of Ryder Cup selection, Bjorn was asked an assessment of the Northern Irishman’s game given it has been four years since McIlroy won a fourth Major in capturing the 2014 PGA at Valhalla in Kentucky.
“Well, I think he’s in a place where he’s contending every week, and as a player, you go through spells where you don’t quite get over the line, but he’s still contending every week, and I admire his patience and I admire the way he goes about it because a lot of other players would feel it a lot more when you get yourself in that position,” said Bjorn.
“So I admire the way he goes about it, and he is such quality. I watched him so much over the last few months, and I just think he’s in a place where it’s going to go boom and then he’s going to start winning a lot of golf tournaments again, and that’s actually pretty good fun to watch.
“He’s going through that spell that all players go through at some stage where, yeah, not quite winning them but we’re still there. And then eventually when he wins that one, then I think he’ll just start rolling again because when you watch him play, I mean, as a golfer and a guy that’s played golf since I was 3 years old, I’ll pay money to go and watch him.”