Thomas Bjorn has followed in the footsteps of many illustrious Ryder Cup captains by becoming the latest recipient of The PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to golf.
Bjorn, who will lead Europe’s bid to regain the Ryder Cup in France next September, received the award at The PGA’s annual fundraising lunch at the Grosvenor House hotel in London today (Friday).
The 46-year-old joins fellow Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance, Sir Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and Bjorn’s predecessor, Darren Clarke, who he was vice-captain to at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2008, as winners of the prestigious accolade.
A 15-time winner on the European Tour and twice runner-up in The Open Championship in 2000 and 2003, Bjorn became the first Danish player to represent Europe against the United States in the Ryder Cup in 1997.
Europe won that encounter at Spain’s Valderrama Golf Club with Ballesteros as captain, as they did in Bjorn’s other two appearances, at The Belfry in 2002 and at Gleneagles in Scotland 12 years later.
Bjorn brings a wealth of experience to the role having served as a vice-captain on no fewer than four occasions under Bernhard Langer (2004), Montgomerie (2010), José María Olazábal in 2012 and more recently Clarke at Hazeltine National in 2016, where United States won the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008.
The Dane will make history again next year when he becomes the first Scandinavian Ryder Cup captain as the famous team competition returns to mainland Europe for a second time at Le Golf National from September 28-30.
Speaking after receiving the award, Bjorn said:
"There are so many people that can be recognised for their achievements in the game and I am honoured to receive this award, especially from The PGA.''
"While Tour players are on the front line, it is the PGA Professionals worldwide who are doing the groundwork and forming the base for the game to develop. They are the ones who are most important."
A £50,000 cheque was presented to the Golf Foundation as The PGA showed its support of grass roots golf. Money was also raised for the PGA Benevolent Fund which helps Members who have fallen on difficult times.
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