Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Golf: Blazers weren't Bjorn to think

It is one of those events in sport that has that something ? that extra something ? that draws you in and holds you there as a witness to the playing and the putting that is a part of a three-day performance.

It is one of those events in sport that has that something ? that extra something ? that draws you in and holds you there as a witness to the playing and the putting that is a part of a three-day performance.

And, in its build up, long before the first drive from the first tee or the first point that is scored, there has been all of the fire of that very public falling out between Bjorn and Woosnam.

Ireland ? the K Club in a couple of weeks' time ? provides the stage for the Ryder Cup match featuring Europe and the United States.

And simmering underneath, there is something else ? that matter of the Montgomerie criticism of Olazabal that has yet to be settled with the Spaniard.

Will it all be forgotten when drivers are drawn from the different golf bags in 12 days time?

Let's hope so.

I think it's wonderful that Tom Lehman is the American captain, because I still remember watching on the box the antics at Brookline in 1999 ? that Justin Leonard putt to secure victory for America and then the charge of his team-mates ? including Tom - onto the 17th green before Jose Maria Olazabal had played.

Sport has its own way of balancing these things out, and maybe it's no coincidence that, after a lengthy absence, the Spaniard is back in the European side at the K Club in a couple of weeks time.

Could the putt that matters most come down to him? Could his play keep the Cup in Europe for a third consecutive time?

There'll be some yelling and yahooing if it does.

But what about that Ian Woosnam clanger a week ago ? his failure to tell Thomas Bjorn before he told everybody else that he wasn't in his team?

Those who are the goody two shoes of golfing didn't like Bjorn's angry response, but what did they expect.

At the very least, the Dane ? winner of this year's Irish Open ? deserved some prior explanation before everyone else was told.

He would have appreciated even some communication between captain and potential team members in the build up to last Sunday's announcement, but he says there was none.

A week ago in Germany, Woosnam was surrounded by those golfing officials in blazers ? the ones who wear jackets with badges to show off their importance.

Clearly, none of the blazers was in charge of thinking ? that it might be a good idea to have a word with Bjorn before telling everybody else what he didn't want to hear.

I'm not saying that Lee Westwood shouldn't have been picked.

But I'm saying a better way should have been found to tell a great player and a great sportsman like Thomas Bjorn that he wasn't.

He has apologised ? but shouldn't have had to apologise ? for his angry reaction, because it was he who was let down

But this falling out was the stuff of a week ago, and, now, the focus has switched to the place of golf's great contest and the next battle for the Ryder Cup.

Will the winning putt come down to Olazabal or Clarke or Harrington or McGinley?

It could be one of them or any of the other eight Europeans.

I hope it's not Woods or Mickelson or any of the other 10 in Tom Lehman's side.

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