Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Bjorn earns British Open exemption 10 years after late collapse

July 8, 2013 -- Updated 1947 GMT (0347 HKT)
Thomas Bjorn watched little known American Ben Curtis lift the trophy at the British Open in 2003.
Thomas Bjorn watched little known American Ben Curtis lift the trophy at the British Open in 2003.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Thomas Bjorn was one of five European Tour players to earn an exemption into the Open
  • Bjorn held a late lead at the 2003 tournament in England before faltering at the 16th hole
  • Jonas Blixt, who won the Greenbrier Classic, earned his spot through the world rankings

(CNN) -- When it comes to golf's sentimental favorites, Thomas Bjorn would have to be near the top of the list.

The Dane famously blew a late lead at the British Open in 2003 and Ben Curtis took advantage to claim his lone major.

It wasn't a collapse to match that of Jean Van de Velde in 1999 -- the Frenchman crumbled on the final hole and eventually lost in a playoff -- but the Claret Jug was in sight for Bjorn since he led by two shots with three holes to play.

Bjorn's double-bogey five on the 16th at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England effectively ended his hopes of capturing a maiden major and allowed the little known Curtis to triumph. Bjorn finished tied for second.

He will get another opportunity to win the British Open and his first major after being given an exemption Monday for this year's tournament at Muirfield in Scotland that begins next week.

Read: McIlroy targets British Open

Gary Player: Why I love horses
New golf course at St. Andrews

Bjorn was one of five European Tour players to earn the exemption based on their Race to Dubai ranking.

Since 2003 Bjorn has only finished in the top 40 at the British Open once, in 2011. He was fourth when the Open was once again held at Royal St. George's.

And his only top-20 finish in any other major in the last 10 years came at the 2005 PGA Championship when he tied for second.

But in his last five European Tour events, Bjorn registered three top-five finishes and sits 13th in the Race to Dubai.

Among the other four European Tour players to be granted exemptions was South Africa's Richard Sterne, who finished second at the French Open after struggling on the back nine Sunday.

Five spots went to PGA Tour counterparts based on their FedExCup ranking, with Billy Horschel highest in the standings at No. 5.

Horschel tied for fourth at last month's U.S. Open and won the Zurich Open in New Orleans in April.

Read: Rose conquers Merion

Sweden's Jonas Blixt, meanwhile, led a list of eight players who earned their entry through the world rankings. Blixt won Sunday's rain affected Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia to see his ranking rise from 103rd to 51st.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1536 GMT (2336 HKT)
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
ADVERTISEMENT