More than a Game

Thomas Bjørn
ECCO was a household name when I grew up so I take great pride wearing ECCO on Tour.

Thomas Bjørn

Thomas Bjørn

With his 21 professional victories, 15 of which he secured on the European Tour, Thomas Bjørn is the most successful Danish golfer to have ever played the game.

So when ECCO GOLF picked its first brand ambassador, the shortlist to fill this position didn't take long to put together...Fortunately the feeling was mutual. "Being Danish, ECCO was a household name when I grew up so I take great pride in wearing the shoes on Tour,” said Thomas. "They've sponsored me for many years and I've never been happier with the comfort, performance and style.”

Inspired by his mother, who played off a handicap of five, he picked up a golf club for the first time when he was five years of age. In the months and years that followed, Thomas could mostly be found in his parents' garden, chipping golf balls into a birdbath for hours and hours, not allowing himself to leave until all the balls were in the small target. This birdbath now sits proudly onsite at Silkeborg Golf Club, Thomas' home course, where he subsequently learned to play the game.
After turning professional in 1993, Thomas started his career by playing on the second tier Challenge Tour for three years before earning his European Tour card for the 1996 season. He wasted no time in winning his maiden tour title, claiming the Loch Lomond World Invitational during his debut campaign and becoming the first Danish golfer to win on the European Tour.

This impressive rookie season on Europe's biggest stage secured him a spot in Captain Seve Ballesteros' victorious Ryder Cup Team of 1997, and he made the European squads again in 2002 and 2014 - cementing his reputation as a brilliant competitor by contributing to victories against Team USA every time he teed up at a Ryder Cup.
Two years after his final appearance as a Ryder Cup player, Denmark's most successful golfer was chosen to captain Team Europe in 2018. Played for the first time in France, Thomas formed a team that could not match their American counterparts in terms of world golf ranking points, but dominated the event for three straight days en route to an historic 17.5-10.5 victory.

Only after the completion of the event, Thomas confessed that he used a bit of extra motivation by promising his players that if they won by a large margin he would get a tattoo of the scoreline. Sergio Garcia, who won his singles match to become the all-time leading Ryder Cup points scorer, revealed that the captain's unique pledge provided a serious amount of motivation. "It was actually a big talking point in the team room,” he said. "It gave us something extra to fight for.” Shortly before Christmas 2018, Thomas kept his word by fulfilling the promise that he later described as "the worst decision I made all week during the matches in Paris!”

A golfing career spanning close to three decades doesn't only consist of Ryder Cup heroics and almost two dozen professional wins, but also heartache and tough finishes. Thomas has had his fair share of those in major championships.

After finishing second at the 2000 Open Championship at St Andrews behind an unbeatable Tiger Woods, he found himself in prime position to win golf's oldest Championship three years later at Royal St Georges. Leading Vijay Sing, Tiger Woods and Ben Curtis by four strokes with only three holes to play on Sunday, Thomas needed three shots to get out of a greenside bunker on the 16th hole. Ultimately, his score of +4 over the last three holes of the championship made Ben Curtis an unlikely major champion.

In his 2019 book 'Mind Game' Thomas revealed that those heartbreaking losses were much tougher to take than his often cool and rock solid demeanour would let the public think. "I used to blame the game for how I was feeling, but you end up hating golf because it's easy to hate,” he said. "It's like hating a government because it's easy to blame somebody else. But this is your life and you can turn it around. It's not the game's fault. I am happy I found a way to learn to love the game, and life, again.”

Being an outright Ryder Cup legend and just on the start of his Champions Tour career, Thomas will have plenty of opportunities over the next years to use that attitude and love for the game to add to his already more than impressive trophy cabinet.
Thomas Bjørn

Thomas Bjørn

Born: February 18th, 1971
Residence: London, United Kingdom
Turned professional in: 1993
Professional wins: 22
Career highlights:
  • 1996 Loch Lomond Woord Invitational (European Tour)
  • 2000 & 2002 BMW International Open (European Tour)
  • 2011 & 2013 Omega European Masters (European Tour)
  • 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge (European Tour)
  • 2018 Winning Ryder Cup Captain

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