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Thomas Bjorn Relishing Johnnie Walker Championship Defence
Posted by: Darren Ramowski on Mon 11 Jun 2012
Having enjoyed one of the most successful years of his European Tour career in 2011, Denmark's Thomas Björn is fired up to defend his title at the 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, being staged from August 23-26.
For the World Number 37 it will be a welcome return to the 2014 Ryder Cup venue, Gleneagles, where he recorded his second victory of the 2011 European Tour season after prevailing in a thrilling five-man play-off at the expense of George Coetzee, Bernd Wiesberger, Pablo Larrazábal and Mark Foster.
Having made his way back into the winners circle with an early season victory at the Qatar Masters, Björn went on to clinch back-to-back titles with victory at the European Masters in Switzerland a week later, finishing the season ranked ninth on Tour. It was the first time in the 41 year-olds career that he had collected 3 trophies in one season.
"Gleneagles was a real highlight for me as it proved my win in Qatar wasn’t just a flash in the pan. I was delighted with the week and glad to stay cool, calm and collected in that tense play-off. Winning the week after made it a really special fortnight” said Björn whose best finish this season came at the recent Wales Open where he finished tied second.
This year the Championship takes on an even bigger significance with it being the final qualifying event for The 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah with the leading five players on The Ryder Cup European Points List at the conclusion on Sunday automatically making the team.
European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal will also announce his two captains’ picks on the Monday following the Championship so there will be plenty to play for over what is surely to be four memorable days.
Björn who will be vying to become the first man to successfully defend the Johnnie Walker championship knows just how important a good finish at Gleneagles will be.
"Jose’s side is going to be so hard to make. The strength in depth of our players is unbelievable and to have any chance you have got to play fantastic golf for a full year. If I am still in with a chance of making it when the Championship gets underway you can be assured I will be doing everything I can to make that team” said Björn who currently lies 15th on the European Ryder Cup points list.
Championship Director, Graeme Marchbank of Diageo, official partners of the 2014 Ryder Cup, is looking forward to the Championship field taking shape.
"It's always a pleasure to welcome back our defending champion to Gleneagles, we have a great roster of winners and we look forward to announcing more world-class players as we countdown to the event itself"
“Being a Ryder Cup year we are confident that the final field will include many of the biggest names in the world of golf, including many candidates all looking to secure their spot on the plane to Medinah” said Marchbank.
Gleneagles recently reopened its PGA Centenary Course following extensive alterations to a number of holes. The modifications were devised in consultation with course designer Jack Nicklaus with the most dramatic alterations apparent on the 9th and 18th.
Richard Hills, the European Tour’s Ryder Cup director, said: “I am sure the course changes will help deliver a truly memorable occasion when The Ryder Cup comes to Gleneagles in two years’ time.”
The 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will again be broadcast on Sky Sports and will be played at Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course from August 23-26.
Tickets are available at the course and at www.europeantourtickets.com Parking is free.
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