If you've ever wanted to know the difference between a great golfer and a regular golfer, just listen to what they say when they step on a golf course or a golf hole that haunts them. The great golfer will never let a bad thought cross his mind, and look at the fairway or green just like any other. The average golfer will think about out of bounds, or that last triple-bogey, or a bunker that doomed their chances.
So when you and I think about Thomas Bjorn at Royal St. George's, we think about how he had one hand on the Claret Jug back in 2003, and gave it away on the 16th hole on Sunday, when he left two shots in what is now known as Bjorn's Bunker, walked away with a double-bogey, and lost by a shot to Ben Curtis. But on Thursday, playing that hole for the first time in competition since that dreadful afternoon eight years ago, Bjorn hit a nifty little iron shot four feet short of the pin, rolled that putt in for birdie, and tipped his cap.
His mind isn't thinking about the negative in Sandwich, it's thinking about the 71 holes he played brilliantly enough to win this championship those years ago. And it isn't like Bjorn's career tapered off after that disappointment in '03. Bjorn is still a player, winning a European Tour event in each of the last two years, and although he has only one top 10 since the last time this course hosted a British Open, his opening-round 65, despite a bogey on the 18th, showed that his mind is clear and those thoughts are well pushed out of his brain.
How crazy would it be if Bjorn kept up this type of play? Well, bananas, considering he wasn't even in this tournament last week and hasn't made the cut in a major since the '07 PGA Championship. But with that type of opening round on a tough course like this, all he'd really have to do is tread water for the next three days and would be in the hunt come Sunday.
If that's the case, hopefully he'll remember that tee shot on Thursday, and not the one that got a sand trap named after him.