Norway’s biggest player in golf so far has been Henrik Bjørnstad, who played on the US PGA Tour before retiring in 2010 at the age of 31, but there has never been any Major winner or prolific winner on golf’s big stage.It is something the ever-growing Norwegian Federation is looking to change and with Knut Borsheim and Espen Kofstad breaking onto the European circuit in the past 12 months, things are certainly looking up.
Andreassen, who is a well-renowned journalist and entrepreneur in Norway, believes the European Challenge Tour plays a crucial part in the rapid development of golf in his country.“For us it’s important that the Norwegian players get the opportunity to compete with European players of a higher standard,” said Andreassen.
“The new plan we have is to try to develop better opportunities so that we can create better Norwegian players. We have Suzann Pettersen on the female side of course and on the male side, Knut is the only player on The European Tour and hopefully Espen can get onto The European Tour for next year now.“But there are also some young stars popping up now but it takes time and one of our big goals is to build and make it possible to develop players on The European Tour.
“This is a crucial step, it’s extremely important for us and that’s why the Federation has put money into this tournament.”Andreassen became a famous face in Norway as a TV anchor for the national television channel NRK before quitting and playing a huge part in the rise of the country’s first national commercial TV station, TV2.
He is also a written journalist and author, so he recognises the importance of giving the Federation and its players a profile.“I hope Knut and Espen eventually become the ‘fruits of our labour’”, he said. “But we are in the early stages of this plan and things have been going very well for us on the lower level, in terms of targeting the young players and now we have to build that bridge between the two levels.
“They are definitely role models for our younger players and if they do well now one of our tasks is to build them into idols for younger players and market them that way through promotional campaigns.“Henrik Bjornstad was our last star and we haven’t had anybody like that since so now we have Knut on The European Tour and hopefully Espen next year, hopefully they will take care of the younger players coming through because we have around five to seven young players with real potential coming up.”