Bjorn denies 'fragmented' Europe remark a dig at Brexit

Thomas Bjorn (Getty Images)
Thomas Bjorn (Getty Images)

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines - Europe Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn said his remark that referred to the continent as "fragmented" during Thursday's opening ceremony was not intended as an attack on Brexit.

The 47-year-old Dane, who lives in London, spoke passionately about the importance of a united team with players from six different countries representing Europe at Le Golf National.

"This continent can be a fragmented place," Bjorn said after introducing his 12-man team for the biennial team golf competition.

"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."

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Bjorn was later asked in a press conference whether those comments were directed towards the people of the United Kingdom, which is due to leave the European Union next March.

"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," he said.

"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."

Bjorn, whose squad includes players from England, Northern Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Italy and Denmark, believes the Ryder Cup has a magical effect in bringing people together from all walks of life.

"I always feel like when I get into a Ryder Cup team, it brings the best out in all Europeans," he said.

"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."

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