Strong start key for European skipper Bjorn

Thomas Bjorn knows a strong start is vital for his European Ryder Cup side. "You don't want to fall behind," said the Dane on Wednesday.

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn   -  Getty Images

Europe was thumped 4-0 in the opening session of the last Ryder Cup and Thomas Bjorn knows it is vital that it avoids a similarly poor start at Le Golf National.

The United States never relinquished its lead at Hazeltine after enjoying a clean sweep of the Friday morning foursomes matches, although it was pegged back to a one-point lead after three sessions.

This year's event will start with fourball contests, with Bjorn hopeful he will not be forced into a hasty rethink of his plans.

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"I think you build your whole mind up about that first day, and how you see that evolving, and you obviously have a plan for Saturday, but that can change from where you are," said Europe's captain in a news conference.

"You don't want to fall behind and see your whole plan that you've laid out falling apart in that first session, and that's what it did for Darren [Clarke, the European skipper in 2016]."

"I would dread being 0-4 down after Friday morning's session, but I think any captain would do that. That's not a great place to be."

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"You can't do anything but second-guess yourself if you're in that situation, but in the end, players have to go out on the golf course and play their golf and do the things that they need to do on the golf course, and that's not always on the captain. That was an unfortunate start for us last time, and hopefully we're not in that situation on Friday."

Bjorn explained that his decision to include Gregory Havret and Raphael Jacquelin in his backroom staff this week. Although the pair are not vice-captains, they have each played a role in support of Bjorn and his team.

"We are in France, and you have to respect the nation that you're in. It's hard to come across two nicer guys and two better people than Greg and Raph. I wanted their involvement for two reasons," said the Dane.

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"Firstly, they are French; people know them, it's nice to be out on the golf course with them. A lot of the French fans recognise them and want to have a chat with them, and get behind them being there."

"And second of all, because I really like them. They are really good friends of mine. I get on really well with them. I know they will do a job for us. They will give everything for those players on that team, so that's why they are there."

"They are great people to have around and they understand their role. They understand when the players are doing their thing, they go and sit in the corner and have a nice glass of red wine and that's what they do, and then, they get involved when it's right."

"They are so good in picking their moments to be involved, and all those 12 players in that team feel great about them, so that's why they are there."

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