Denmark’s Thomas Björn has been forced to withdraw from the 2007 MasterCard Masters due to family reasons. Björn’s wife, Pernilla, is set to undergo back surgery imminently and he has decided to fly back to London to be at her side.
The new Chairman of The European Tour Tournament Committee, who won the Heineken Classic in Perth nine years ago, had been aiming to add another Australian title to his collection at Huntingdale Golf Club.
However Pernilla Björn, who was scheduled for surgery on November 30, has had his operation brought forward to Monday and her husband is determined to get home to lend his support.
“We empathise with Thomas’s position and fully respect his desire to be with his family at this time”, commented David Rhodes, Vice President, IMG Golf. Björn’s place in the field is taken by Australian Justin Maker.
This week’s Omega Mission Hills World Cup has deprived the tournament of defending champion Justin Rose, who will answer England’s call in tandem with Ian Poulter, but a high quality field has assembled nevertheless on the famous Melbourne sandbelt course in search of the trophy, the €152,009 first prize and the famous Gold Jacket.
Leading the way for the host nation will be players such as Robert Allenby, a winner in both 2003 and 2005; Stuart Appleby, who will be looking to make up for missing the cut in last week’s UBS Hong Kong Open; Aaron Baddeley and European Tour Member Richard Green, who won in 2004.
Other players returning home from a year on the US PGA Tour to compete are John Senden, the 2006 Australian Open champion, two time US PGA Tour winner Rod Pampling, and Mark Hensby, who knows what it takes to win on The European Tour having triumphed in the 2005 Scandinavian Masters.
The European Tour challenge will be bolstered by players such as his fellow Dane and winner of the 2007 Open de Madrid Valle Romano, Mads Vibe-Hastrup as well as former US Open Champion and 2000 MasterCard Masters champion Michael Campbell of New Zealand
Also in the line-up will be Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden fresh from a fine showing in last week’s UBS Hong Kong Open where he shared seventh place.