'This Week It Hit Home' - Bjorn Reacts To 150th Open After 2003 Heartbreak

Ben Curtis may have won The 2003 Open Championship, but a moment at the 16th hole from Bjorn is how the tournament is remembered

Thomas Bjorn readjusts his cap
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Open Championship has provided some of the most dramatic and iconic moments in golf for a number of good and bad reasons. Whether it was Seve's famous win in 1984 at St Andrews, or Jean van de Velde's collapse in 1999, there have been many memorable moments surrounding the Claret Jug.

One of the most gut-wrenching came in 2003 at Royal St Georges when, with four holes to go during the final round, Thomas Bjorn held a three shot lead. However, following a bogey at the 15th, the Dane infamously needed three attempts to play out of a greenside bunker on the 16th hole. In the end, he lost by one shot to Ben Curtis.

It's a moment that can change a golfer's career and mindset for some time. However, following the collapse in 2003, the Dane went on to enjoy a hugely successful career, with Bjorn securing eight European Tour titles (15 in total) and multiple Ryder Cup victories, including one as Captain in 2018. 

Perks of winning The Open

At The 150th Open Championship, during an enthralling third round, Bjorn revealed that week had "hit home", with the 51-year-old tweeting: "People often ask me if I think about the 2003 Open. The honest answer is that after 19 years I really don’t. However, this week it has hit home. Especially on Monday with the celebration of golf and on Tuesday with the champions dinner. You suddenly take a moment and realise it could have all been so different. 

"You could have been part of such a special club if things had taken another turn. You also realise that no money in the world can buy you a seat at that table. It’s all about achievement. St Andrew’s has been amazing this week." In his final tweet, Bjorn added "tomorrow (Sunday) will be one of the most memorable days in golf history."

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Beginning the final day, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland start some four shots clear of a stacked Open leaderboard. The European Ryder Cup duo put on an exhibition of golf during the third round, with both shooting six-under-par rounds of 66.

It was fantastic viewing around the Old Course, as both conjured up incredible shot after incredible shot, the most notable one being a 50-yard bunker shot from McIlroy, that led to an incredible eagle. Going into Sunday, the duo sit at 16-under-par, four shots clear of Cameron Young and Cameron Smith, with both looking to add a Claret Jug to their already impressive resumes.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x