IT’S AN exciting time for European golf with youngsters like Rory McIlroy and Matteo Manassero establishing themselves as forces to be reckoned with, but it’s equally uplifting to see the old guard reminding the upstarts that there’s no substitute for experience in this game.
Thomas Bjorn secured back-to-back victories at the weekend representing a fantastic achievement for one of the tour’s outstanding golfers.
These were no end of season run of the mill tournaments either. Winning a five-way play-off at Gleneagles must have given Bjorn a real shot in the arm confidence wise and he was strong enough to finish clear of a stellar field at the European Masters.
When you couple Bjorn’s success with Darren Clarke’s victory at The Open it just goes to show the over 40s club are still capable of having their say at the top end of the game.
Only through experience are you able to consistently deal with the various scenarios this wonderful sport throws up. I remember I had my best year, winning five tournaments, when I turned 43 and was more at ease with the pressures that accompany playing in, and leading, big events.
That certainly looked as if it was the case for Darren during his final round at St George’s, where he coped with the hype as if it was just another day at his local course, rather than the biggest day of his career.
Bjorn, meanwhile, has shot straight into contention for next year’s Ryder Cup and he’d certainly be a great asset to the team, not just because he’s used to playing in that unique atmosphere in America, but because he’s a superb golfer.
I enjoyed my best finish of the year at the Senior Masters last week despite some pretty ordinary putting. Still, you can’t quibble with a top 10 finish and hopefully I can carry that form into the next tournament in Prague later this month.