Darren Clarke backing Thomas Bjorn to book Ryder Cup spot at Gleneagles
Last Updated: 10/09/13 4:35pm
Thomas Bjorn (left): Has backing of Darren Clarke (right)
Darren Clarke says European Masters champion Thomas Bjorn has a "very realistic" chance of making Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup team.
Bjorn moved to the top of the European Ryder Cup Points List after winning the Omega European Masters at Crans-Sur-Sierre in Switzerland on Sunday - a victory which also took him back into the top 50 in the world rankings.
It was the Dane's first European Tour win (14th in all) since he won the same tournament two years ago.
Clarke is a former Ryder Cup colleague of Bjorn's and the pair were also fellow vice-captains for Europe's incredible win at Medinah last year.
"He'd been knocking on the door all year. He's been playing really, really well," said Clarke.
"He's one of the best, maybe one of the top three, wedge players in the game and Switzerland's always going to suit him because players have so many short irons into greens up there.
"To see him get over the line and win again was fantastic. He's still a world-class player and I'm sure he's got his sights on being involved in playing the Ryder Cup this time as opposed to being involved in the backroom staff."
Bjorn is now 43 but 2011 Open champ Clarke believes Bjorn's chances of playing in a third Ryder Cup - his previous appearances were back in 1997 and 2002 - are "very realistic".
"He's still a world-class player and I'm sure he's got his sights on being involved in playing the Ryder Cup this time."
Clarke on Bjorn
"Thomas is a brilliant golfer. It's a great start for him and I'd be surprised if he's not very close (to automatically qualifying) come the end."
Bjorn could also be in the frame for a wildcard pick if he didn't make it and one of the first congratulatory texts he received after his win at Crans-sur-Sierre came from European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.