Thomas Bjorn has hailed Tiger Woods’ return to the Ryder Cup as “phenomenal” for the competition as the Dane prepares to captain the European team in its battle against the US.
After a stunning return to form this season, Woods was announced as a wildcard pick by US captain Jim Furyk ahead of the action getting under at Le Golf National on September 28.
“It’s remarkable that he is back to the levels he’s playing at and I think it’s fantastic, it’s great for the game of golf, it’s phenomenal for the Ryder Cup in France,” Bjorn told CNN Sport.
Ryder Cup 2018: European team in photos
Woods’ recent results make ominous reading for Bjorn and his European players as the 42-year-old US star prepares to make his first Ryder Cup appearance as a player since 2012.
Earlier this month, the 14-time major winner shot his best opening round for 20 years. That came off the back of finishing runner-up behind Brooks Koepka at August’s US PGA Championship.
Allied with his performance at July’s British Open, where he briefly led before finishing tied sixth, his form suggests Wood has finally conquered the injuries that have plagued him in recent years.
“I probably never really thought that he would get back to these levels,” admitted Bjorn, who won all three Ryder Cups he competed in as a player.
“I thought it looked like it was going to be a struggle and he’s again shown that he’s pretty unique.
“As a golf fan I’m delighted to see him back where he is because he means so much to the game of golf and to what this sport is, so it’s brilliant to see him back.”
The US goes into France’s first Ryder Cup as the favorite to take victory. As well as Woods, Furyk has eight other major winners at his disposal.
Brooks Koepka has won three majors in the last 15 months, Patrick Reed took the Masters title earlier this year, while Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson have all won majors in the last three seasons.
In addition to experienced campaigners like Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, the challenge for Bjorn and the Europeans looks like a formidable one.
But Bjorn insists he is not focused on the opposition and he backs his charges to be more than a match for the Americans.
“I do only focus on our team because I can’t do anything about 12 Americans,” said the 47-year-old Dane. “We go up against a very strong American team and we know that and we’ve got to do our best and do everything we can to focus on our stuff.
“If we do that then we’ve got a good chance of winning. Both teams I think stand very equal to each other.”