Bjorn set to defend Gleneagles title

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 22, 2012
Defending champion Thomas Bjorn goes into the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles starting on Thursday with one eye on an even bigger prize. Named as one of the European Ryder Cup vice captains, Bjorn has been busy tracking the progress of the team to play at Medinah next month. And so far he has liked what he has seen, particularly the back-to-back success in the past two weeks of Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia. ''It has been a couple of important weeks,'' said Bjorn. ''When they play the way they have done, it leaves a little bit less room for our guys. So Kiawah was very important, and Sergio's win last week was also very important. ''It just gives a boost to the whole European team ... We are five weeks away and after a little bit of a low, five weeks away is the perfect timing for all of them to be right on top of their game.'' McIlroy not only won his second Major championship but stormed past Tiger Woods and Luke Donald to take back the top ranking when winning the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Garcia, meanwhile, ended a four-year PGA Tour winless drought last Monday in capturing the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina. Bjorn will be joined as vice captain under Jose Maria Olazabal by former British Open winner Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland and Ireland's Paul McGinley. All three served in the same capacity in 2010 under Colin Montgomerie. Olazabal will name his fourth vice captain later this week and will make his two wildcard picks on Monday. One of those could be big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, who is currently 12th and two places outside of automatically qualifying for the Ryder Cup side. However, the 29-year old Colsaerts could guarantee his place on the team by finishing first or second at Gleneagles. If successful, Colsaerts will be the only rookie among the 10 automatic qualifiers. ''I think the best way to go about it, is to be very humble,'' said Colsaerts. ''Ollie (Olazabal) has been around so many of them that he's got all the scenarios covered regardless of what I do, what some of the other guys do. ''I don't know what the captain is looking for. If he's looking for certain individuals, if he's looking for certain skills. Fortunately, I still have a way to get myself in, but I'd like to think that I'm a pretty good position to get a pick.'' While Colsaerts is the only player competing in Scotland who can break into the team, England's David Lynn has been left ruing not joining Colsaerts last week in North Carolina. Lynn, 38, jumped 15 places to 13th on the points table following his second-place finish to McIlroy at Kiawah Island and would automatically qualify for the team by finishing 46th or better. ''I just thought it was mathematically impossible when I turned up for the PGA Championship to make the team automatically,'' said Lynn.
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