Bjorn to stay on as players' chairman

Reuters - Wed, 09 Jun 17:25:00 2010

Dane Thomas Bjorn has changed his mind about resigning as chairman of the European Tour's powerful players committee.

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The 39-year-old said last year he would step down after becoming frustrated at the decision to shelve a plan to increase the mandatory events players needed to compete in to retain a tour card.

It had been mooted that tour chief executive George O'Grady should take over as chairman but Bjorn is less than happy with that idea.

"I am still acting chairman and I'm still in a position where I do a lot of talking in discussions," Bjorn said on the eve of the Portuguese Open. "It's very difficult for us to find a solution.

"There are quite a few guys who would be good at it but I'm not sure they'd want to do it. So maybe it would be best, if the committee wanted me, I stay on as chairman.

"I've got a great relationship with George and maybe it's what the tour wants at this time -- a little bit of stability. I don't think it's the right way forward to have the chief executive as chairman and I don't think the players do," added Bjorn.

"We want to have our say behind closed doors. We've got to have strong voices with what goes on on tour. If George, or any chief executive, starts chairing, then the players lose a little bit of identity of what the European Tour's about."

Last year former Ryder Cup player Bjorn led a move to increase the number of events European golfers needed to compete in as he tried to halt an exodus to the US but the scheme was rejected by the tour.

"We were all a little bit surprised at the decision but by no means does it mean that we won't do that in the future," said nine-times tour winner Bjorn.

The Dane's golfing performances nosedived between 2007-09 but they have picked up in the last week as he finished joint ninth in the Wales Open on Sunday and pre-qualified on Monday for next month's Open Championship at St Andrews.

Bjorn cannot, however, see himself qualifying for captain Colin Montgomerie's Ryder Cup team for the biennial match with the US in Wales in October.

"I played some nice stuff in Wales and played lovely on Monday but to even think about playing in the Ryder Cup is getting way ahead of myself," he said.

"If Colin offers me the vice-captaincy of course I'd take it. I know the players well and I know Monty well. Any captain needs great help around him.

"I've done it once before and it's a great experience to be on the sidelines."


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