By Alan Ewens
|Bjorn cherishes Qatar trophy.|
AFTER ENJOYING ONE OF THE MOST successful years in his European Tour career, Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn is fired up to defend his title at the 2012 Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy, being staged from February 2-5.
For the World Number 35 it will be a welcome return to the Doha Golf Club, a venue where his stellar 2011 season took off with a four shot victory over a world-class field. It was a victory that set up the Dane for a year that would see him win twice more and finish the season ranked ninth on Tour.
“Qatar was a turning point for me as it showed that I could get back into the winning frame of mind and close out tournaments,” said Bjorn who has spent the winter months holidaying with his family and working on his game in Dubai.
“I was delighted with the week. I played solid golf—I think I made one bogey in the last 54 holes. On that golf course and in those conditions, that’s good going.”
After notching up his eleventh European Tour title in Qatar, titles twelve and thirteen quickly followed when Bjorn won back-to-back events in stunning fashion in the late summer, first capturing the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, where he won via a five-man play-off, then triumphing at the Omega European Masters by an impressive four shots.
“Winning the third title of the year was probably the most satisfying as the most talked about players on Tour—people like Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer—were all in the field and I still finished above them all,” he said.
Described by respected coach Peter Cowen as one the finest ball strikers in the world, Bjorn is now clearly back to his best and ready for another successful season in 2012—a year when the Ryder Cup will again feature heavily on the sporting calendar. Having tasted victory as both a player and a vice captain, the Dane is looking forward to the challenge in September.
“It’s an event that is all about the players,” added the first Danish golfer ever to play in the Ryder Cup. “When you are working behind the scenes, you do what you can to prepare them and make the event as stress-free as possible. But once they take to the course it is all about the twelve men in each team.”
Organised by the Qatar Golf Association (QGA), the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and title sponsor The Commercial Bank of Qatar, the $2.5 million Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy will be the second event in the three-leg ‘Desert Swing’ in between tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
(Photo: Courtesy of Alan Ewens, Qatar Masters)