Ryder Cup Captain Nearly Quit Golf

Despite the glitz and glamour that appears on the outside of the world’s best golfers, there are still demons haunting the inside of them as evidenced by Thomas Bjorn’s excerpt from his forthcoming book, Mind Game: The Secrets of Golf’s Winners, which he co-wrote with Michael Calvin.

The 2018 European Ryder Cup Captain revealed in a recent interview with The Guardian that he has dealt with mental illness throughout his life, and it nearly cost him his storied career.

“In the end, it’s almost like I didn’t want to get up in the morning,” Bjorn said. “This happens because the problems you see in your head are so much bigger than they are in reality. They take over your mind. You can ask all the people in the world but in the end, if your mind doesn’t respond, all of that is just noise. You need to take responsibility for what you’re thinking. My tool was having those conversations with the mirror. Those conversations were not made up. They happened.”

Bjorn’s greatest golfing triumph occurred last year at the Ryder Cup, but before that he was a perennial contender at major championships throughout the last three decades.

Most devastating of all was his near-miss at the 2003 Open Championship Royal St. George’s, which he said is a memory that is oftentimes brought up.

“Every time you met somebody, that was the only thing they asked you about,” he said. “In the end, it gets you.”

Sometimes out of the darkness comes the brightest of lights, however. In the end, Bjorn said, it comes down to accountability and taking control of your own life instead of finding an outlet for blame.

“I used to blame the game for how I was feeling, but you end up hating golf because it’s easy to hate,” Bjorn said. “It’s like hating a government because it’s easy to blame somebody else. But this is your life and you can turn it around. It’s not the game’s fault. I am happy I found a way to learn to love the game, and life, again.”