Thomas Bjorn is the early leader for the storyline of the Open Championship. He was so close to a win at Royal St. George's in 2003 only to melt down on the 16th hole and surrender the Claret Jug to unknown American Ben Curtis. On Thursday, however, Bjorn returned to the course and posted a 5-under round that qualified as a masterpiece in British Open conditions.
But there are matters more important than golf, of course. Bjorn is still playing with a heavy heart; his father passed away in May after a long illness. Bjorn attempted to play shortly afterward, but missed the cut at the Wales Open. He later withdrew from a qualifying tournament for this Open Championship.
Only the fact that Vijay Singh withdrew opened the door for Bjorn to play as an alternate. And while he posted a 65 that held up for most of the afternoon, it was clear from his post-round interview that his late father is never far from his thoughts.
Life has a way of putting golf into perspective, and golf has a way of clarifying life. Here's hoping Bjorn is able to craft a fine tournament in his father's honor.