Big Play Thomas Bjorn's temper led to two inexcusable gaffes in the sand, including one on Sunday that resulted in the double bogey that cost him the title

July 28, 2003
July 28, 2003

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July 28, 2003

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Big Play Thomas Bjorn's temper led to two inexcusable gaffes in the sand, including one on Sunday that resulted in the double bogey that cost him the title

Ben Curtis probably wouldn't have won the British Open had Thomas
Bjorn not made two shocking mental blunders in the sand at Royal
St. George's. On the 17th hole on Thursday, after Bjorn failed to
blast out of a greenside bunker, he angrily slammed his wedge
into the sand, an idiotic move that carried a two-shot penalty
and led to a quadruple bogey. On Sunday, while leading by two
strokes, Bjorn again lost his composure, this time after
shortsiding his approach into a greenside bunker at the par-3
16th. Bjorn was only 40 feet from the hole, but his ball rested
in a tricky position--on an upslope in fluffy sand, several feet
below a pin that was on the crest of a hill. Forgetting to adjust
for this unusual shot, Bjorn did not swing hard enough to account
for the uphill lie, which caused his club to travel too slowly
through the sand. His ball weakly flopped onto the green, then
rolled back down the slope to his feet. One bad swing would have
been understandable, but then Bjorn, instead of taking a moment
to regroup, rushed his next shot and again watched it barely
reach the green and trickle back into the sand (above). Luckily,
Bjorn's ball stopped in his footprint so he had no choice but to
take a very hard swing, which he should've done on the first
shot. This time he hit what was, under the circumstances, a
miraculous explosion to five feet and drained the putt for a 5,
but it was too little too late.

This is an article from the July 28, 2003 issue

THREE COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ABCCOLOR PHOTO: MEL LEVINE (3) Carl Lohren teaches at Ballen Isle Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.TWO COLOR PHOTOMONTAGES: MEL LEVINE (3); SIMON BRUTY (BACKGROUND) NORMAL LIE


"You're going to see a lot more unknown champions like Ben
Curtis and Hilary Lunke, because the pipeline is teeming with
all-world tykes who understand the swing and can execute it as
well as any tour pro."

"Disqualifying Jesper Parnevik and Mark Roe for getting their
scorecards mixed up was absurd. Rules officials should be
flexible like the Supreme Court, weighing evidence and giving
fair judgments. Cheaters should be punished, but Parnevik and Roe
didn't cheat."

"When Tiger Woods takes his driver out of play, as he now
does routinely at majors, his primary advantage is negated, and
he becomes just another great player instead of an unstoppable

"Tournament fields are diluted on the PGA Tour because too
many spots go to Q school grads. They get to play all year
because they had one hot week. The Tour should increase the
number of Monday qualifiers, which rewards players who are hot
that week."


When you're on an upslope in a greenside bunker, using the setup
position for shots from flat lies will cause your angle of attack
to be too steep, and you're likely to lose velocity in the
downswing and leave your ball in the sand, the way Thomas Bjorn
did at 16. To hit from an upslope, make the following three
adjustments at address and take a more aggressive swing.

1. OPEN YOUR STANCE a bit more to give your swing a gliding and
cutting action. (Not digging!)

makes the swing less steep.

3. TILT YOUR BODY WITH THE SLOPE, so that your right shoulder and
hip are considerably lower than the left shoulder and hip.