I was not ready to win, says Bjorn

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The Independent Online

Thomas Bjorn said last night that the "major slip" that saw him throw away a two-stoke lead with three to play was probably a result of not being mentally ready to win the Open.

The Dane, who picked up a two-shot penalty on Thursday for hitting the sand with his club, dropped four shots on the last four holes yesterday. One came on 15th, when a par would have left him three ahead. Two more came on the par-three 16th when he took three to escape from a greenside bunker and shot a double-bogey five. The fourth came at the 17th.

"I'll still say that standing on the first tee at the Ryder Cup is the biggest pressure in golf," he said, initially refuting a suggestion that leading the tournament was too much for him.

"But maybe I wasn't ready [for the pressure here]. I haven't been in contention in a tournament, even on the regular tour, for quite a while. Maybe I was caught in a situation when I wasn't ready. You have to be totally ready, mentally. It came too fast.

"It was a hard moment. I played wonderful golf, but I let it slip. As an overall performance I probably played some of the best golf this week.

"I was standing on the 15th tee with one hand on the trophy and I let it go. But I've got to go on from here and, hopefully, there will be a major coming my way very shortly. There are a lot of good players who've lost major championships and a lot of guys out there who thought they could win this tournament and they didn't."

Vijay Singh, who shared second place with Bjorn, said: "I had my chances and I blew it." The Fijian added: "It was sad, actually because I thought I was playing really well. I just made too many mistakes on the turn. I bogeyed the eighth, 10th and 15th and made a bad shot on the 16th."

Singh agreed that finishing second was "not so bad" but he added: "If at the beginning of the week you'd have given it to me I still wouldn't have taken it. I came over here to win it. I felt I had the game to win it, especially when I started off today. But maybe next year."

Talking about the set-up of the course, Singh said: "A few things need to be changed. A few fairways need to be levelled off. You can't hit fairways around here when you [try to] hit the middle of the fairway. You have to get lucky. That's the only sad thing about this golf course."

Bjorn, to his credit, said he had no complaints about the course. "The golf course was magnificent, it's what links golf should be all about," he said. "Guys who complain are not at the top of their game. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it."