The 2018 Ryder Cup Captain is the most successful Danish golfer to have played the game having won 15 times on the DP World Tour and has undoubtedly helped pave the way for others since his first victory during his debut season in 1996.
Since then, Denmark has become a country that boasts numerous Tour winners with Nicolai Højgaard and Thorbjørn Olesen both adding to their resume of titles so far this season, while Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Emily Kristine Pedersen were part of the European team that won the Solheim Cup last year.
“Danish golf is strong, we have a lot of talent,” said Bjørn. “Then they do what talent does, they play well and then they play not so well, go up and down. But we have a lot of great players so we’re in a good place with the men and women, but they all need to start stepping up – talent is talent but you’ve got to go out there and prove what you can do with that talent.
“I think as talented as they are, I think we can ask more of them to be honest. It’s up to those players, great sportspeople – that comes from within. You can lay out a few guidelines and help in certain situations and make life a little bit easier for them, but in the end it comes from the heart and the soul and you’ve got to dig it out yourself.”
Bjørn remains a reference point for so many of his younger countrymen, including the 21-year-old Højgaard twins. Nicolai and Rasmus have won five times between them since they made their entrance on the professional golf scene in 2019 and made history last year as the first brothers to win back-to-back Tour events.
Camaraderie within the Danish golf community is very strong according to Bjørn, who hopes that can help inspire them all to win on a more regular basis.
“I chat to them a lot and I try to chat to them and in the end it’s more up to them,” he said. “They have the talent and the tools but they’ve got to go out there and try to win.
“The Danish players have a great relationship and we spend a lot of time together, all of us, and there’s great camaraderie there. It doesn’t matter if you’re 51 like me or 21 like Rasmus and Nicolai, we all have great respect and a great way of talking to each other, and we spend a lot of time together.
“In that way, it works well for us and we just need these guys to step up and start winning more golf tournaments.”
Olesen, who played under Bjørn at the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, claimed his sixth DP World Tour and first for almost four years at the 2022 Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett in May.
The 32-year-old is the second most successful golfer from his country and admits he has struggled to keep up with all the success stories from his compatriots in recent years.
“I think the last two or three years we have had many Danish winners on the DP World Tour and also on the Challenge Tour, from Denmark and Sweden – and we have had so many guys qualifying from the Challenge Tour and coming through the system,” he said.
“It’s quite difficult to keep up to date because there are so many Danes all of a sudden, it’s really good for a small country like us with 5.5 million people and not the best golf weather, to be able to produce so many golfers."
Olesen has played in every edition of Made in HimmerLand since its inception in 2014, when he finished tied seventh in Farsø – his best performance in the event.
“Ever since the first time it came here, this event has just been a great event and it’s only getting better and better through the years,” he added.
“Obviously it’s a very special tournament to me playing at home, but I think all of the players really enjoy coming here and playing this week, so it’s nice to be back.”
Qualification for the 2023 Ryder Cup will begin at next week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, with Olesen hopeful he can perform well enough over the coming 12 months to earn a spot in Team Europe under Captain Luke Donald in Rome next September.
“My first time playing the Ryder Cup in Paris was so unique and so special, something that you don’t get to do in golf, even if you win tournaments, the Ryder Cup is just out of the ordinary and so special,” he said.
“Obviously it’s a dream of mine to play in more of those and in Italy it’s going to be special, so it would be amazing to achieve that.”