Europe’s Ryder Cup captain last night denied he made an anti-Brexit speech on the eve of the clash with the Americans in France.
Dane Thomas Bjorn lives in London, supports Liverpool and has an English girlfriend Grace Barber.
And speaking before today’s Ryder Cup near Paris, Bjorn said: “This continent can be a fragmented place.
"When it comes to the Ryder Cup it is different. We stand as one. Together we have achieved many great things. More than anything we will play for that flag.”
There are five Englishmen – including Florida-based Justin Rose and Ian Poulter – and Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy in the last European team before Brexit in March. There are also two Spaniards, two Swedes, an Italian and another Dane.
And Bjorn, 47, was later forced to defend his words before play starts today.
Ryder Cup Grid
“I’m a European, and I play on The European Tour and have done for most of my life,” he said. “I’ve been focused solely on that tour, and I’m very proud of that, and I’m very proud of this part of the world as a continent. I’m very proud of what we are.
And I always feel like when I get into a Ryder Cup Team, it brings the best out in all Europeans. That is what we are. We are cross nations. We have different cultural backgrounds. We believe in different things, but when we get on that team, we are proud of being European. It’s forgotten that we have so much in common.
That’s my opinion. Not everybody shares that opinion, but that’s my opinion. I felt like I wanted to portray what we are as a team to the people that were watching.
“Was I deliberately addressing the UK people? Not at all. Not at all. Just remember one thing: I’ve lived 15 years of my life in England, and England is my home and I love the country. I love living there. I have an English girlfriend and it is my home, and it would probably be very difficult for me to see any time in the future coming out of that country.
“So I love everything about that country. But I am a European, and I’m Danish by birth, and I believe in the things that I believe in, but that doesn’t mean that I believe in the European Union or not. I’m not addressing the people of the United Kingdom in any way, shape or form in this. I’m addressing what we are in that European Team room. As I said in the speech, as well, that, for us, represents the boundaries of Europe this week. It doesn’t represent a European Union.”
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