Europe have ‘full faith’ in Thomas Bjorn for Ryder Cup

Tommy Fleetwood shows off the Seve Ballateros Awatd, the players' player of the year prize on the European Tour. Picture: Getty Images
Tommy Fleetwood shows off the Seve Ballateros Awatd, the players' player of the year prize on the European Tour. Picture: Getty Images
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Tommy Fleetwood insists Europe’s players will have “full faith” in captain Thomas Bjorn when they try to win back the Ryder Cup in France later this year.

Great Dane Bjorn got off to a winning start as European skipper when his team produced a strong last-day singles display to claim victory in the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia last weekend.

Fleetwood, last year’s Race to Dubai winner, played his part in that success with three wins out of three in Kuala Lumpur and the Englishman gave Bjorn’s leadership style a big thumbs up.

“I think he has a great way about him as a captain,” said Fleetwood, speaking in the build up to his title defence in this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“He’s very deliberate and controlled. When he speaks, he’s got a great amount of compassion but motivation at the same time. For us, it was a pleasure to play for him.”

Bjorn’s next task will be to try and reclaim the Ryder Cup after Europe suffered a first defeat in the biennial encounter when suffering a 17-11 defeat at Hazeltine in 2016.

“I thought he did a great job last week,” added Fleetwood, who is a strong contender to make his first appearance against the Americans at Le Golf National in Paris.

“He has a very strong way about him and he’s going to do a great job in September. Whoever the team is, I think we have full faith our captain to do the right job.”

Henrik Stenson was also part of the team that came from behind heading into the final session at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club to retain the EurAsia Cup, which is effectively Europe’s warm up for the Ryder Cup.

“I now know there’s certainly a lot of guys - Matt Fitzpatrick in particular - who are better at playing (computer game) FIFA than I am,” joked the Swede when asked who in particular had impressed him in a team environment in Malaysia.

“You never know what the future holds in terms of Ryder Cups, but you’re going to see a number of players that were in Malaysia teeing it up in France so it was certainly a chance for Thomas to try out some pairings.”

Stenson also revealed that the stands around the first tee at Le Golf National are going to be considerably bigger than at Gleneagles in 2014, the last home match for the Europeans.

“I think it was 1,500 seats at Gleneagles and that was rather good. So, if you triple of quadrauple that, it is going to be nothing short of fantastic,” said the 2016 Open champion of getting a sneaky peek at the grandstand plans for this year’s event.

Meanwhile, Fleetwood admitted that winning the Seve Ballesteros Award had probably even eclipsed his feat in topping the European Tour Order of Merit last season.

“It’s actually made me the most emotional out of them all,” said the Englishman after receiving the circuit’s players’ player of the year prize. “It is very flattering and very humbling.”