By Elliott Heath published
Thorbjorn Olesen has addressed the court in his trial where he has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman, being drunk on an aircraft, and assault by beating of a second woman during a 2019 British Airways flight from Nashville to London.
The Dane told London's Aldersgate House Nightingale Court that he felt "absolutely horrible" and was "very sorry" for his alleged actions on the way back from the 2019 WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in Tennessee.
"I felt absolutely horrible and I was very sorry. I could not believe what they were saying what happened," the five-time European Tour winner told the court. "I was just embarrassed and felt horrible."
"My last memory is getting a glass of champagne and sitting down in my seat and I think I remember taking off. The first thing I remember is police coming into my seat. I felt a bit all over the place. I was very confused and I think in shock mostly."
Witnesses described Olesen's behaviour on the flight as "completely bizarre," with the now-31-year-old said to have been running around the plane "like a little boy" unable to operate the toilet door and being verbally abusive to cabin crew.
On Monday, a member of the cabin crew described how Olesen was alleged to have grabbed her breast, whilst another member of the cabin crew described how he allegedly pushed her. The captain of the plane was said to have been considering diverting the flight if the situation escalated. Olesen was also alleged to have cried before falling asleep and later urinated on one of the aircraft's seats.
He told the court that he would never "consciously" risk his career by committing a crime and says he has no memory of what is alleged to have occurred on board the flight due to taking sleeping pills.
He had not slept well for weeks following travelling from The Open at Royal Portrush to the WGC at TPC Southwind in back-to-back weeks and had planned to sleep the entire journey back to London, the court heard. He told the court he drunk two beers and two glasses of red wine with a sushi platter on a private jet and had also drank a vodka and cranberry juice prior to boarding the BA flight.
The 2018 Ryder Cupper said he took two melanin tablets to help with jet lag and also took two Ambien/Zolpidem pills, which he didn't realise were prescription-only or came with side-effects including sleep walking and amnesia.
Olesen told the court that he was not "in a party mood" and said he had "definitely not" taken the pills with alcohol for fun. He also denied knowing that any other golfers on the plane had pills when a witness described a group around him with "brightly coloured" tablets.
The trial at London's Aldersgate House Nightingale Court continues.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered three Open Championships on-site including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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