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Captain Bjørn inspires Shire London golfers with stirring speech

LONDON, UK – A riveting speech from the 2018 European Ryder Cup Captain stirred the blood and entranced golfers at the conclusion of the Thomas Bjørn Trophy, held at The Shire London on Monday 9th October 2017.

European Tour golf superstar Thomas Bjørn held the audience captive after dinner with inspirational words about his own winning Ryder Cup debut at Valderrama in 1997, in a team captained by Shire golf course designer Severiano Ballesteros.

Although the canny Dane did not reveal his strategy for next year’s Captain’s Picks, he finished with a rallying call for all European golf fans to get behind his team when he leads them into the 42nd Ryder Cup matches against the USA, at Le Golf National near Paris from 28-30 September 2018.

Earlier in the day 125 golfers had competed in the inaugural Thomas Bjørn Trophy, hosted by the 46 year-old Dane at The Shire London, near Barnet in Hertfordshire – where Bjørn is Honorary Captain in 2017 and 2018.

The day’s highlight was a Beat The Pro event on the Ballesteros Masters Course’s picturesque 7th hole, a 124-yard drop shot to a green which juts out into one of the club’s many lakes. Golfers lined up throughout the day to watch Thomas Bjørn take a shot at the pin, then tried to fire their own shot inside the Captain’s Callaway golf ball. Those who succeeded received a personally-signed Shire London flag from Bjørn himself at the after-golf dinner.

A raffle and charity auction in the evening raised approximately £5,000 for the European Tour Foundation, the official charity of The 2018 Ryder Cup. Premier League football legend Ray Parlour hosted the auction following his after-dinner speech which had everyone roaring with laughter.

“The Shire London must be the friendliest golf club in Britain” said Bjørn. “The welcome is always tremendous no matter who you are, and you really sense the joy and pride radiating from its members and staff on having Seve’s spectacular golf course at the heart of the club. The Shire is also setting new standards of inclusivity in the sport – which is a difficult feat to pull off. I am proud to have made it my home club, as a north London resident myself, and I always enjoy coming here.”

The day’s big individual winner was Peter Jones, who took away a new Callaway Epic driver after his enormous 44-point haul over 18 holes. In second place was none other than the Romford Pele himself, Arsenal’s Ray Parlour.

The winning team – The Singers’ Swingers – comprised Jon Osborne, Steve & Freddie Packham and Sean Maguire from Singing Hill GC in West Sussex. They will take the Thomas Bjørn Trophy itself back to the club, and each of them also won a highly desirable set of Galvin Green golf waterproofs.

Prize sponsors Callaway Golf, Odyssey Golf, Galvin Green and Golfbreaks.com helped to create a generous prize table, with Thomas Bjørn and the European Tour Foundation supplying some of the night’s biggest auction prizes including two very hot tickets – namely, week-long passes to The 2018 Ryder Cup.

In the auction The Shire London itself posted the winning bid for a Flag from The 2012 Ryder Cup, which had been signed by the entire European Team. The event was dubbed the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ after Team Europe’s stunning comeback – a victory which European Captain José María Olazábal subsequently dedicated to the his beloved Ryder Cup mentor and partner, the late Seve Ballesteros, who had passed away the year before.

Event organiser Ceri Menai-Davis summed up the club’s feelings after the long-awaited event: “This was no ordinary Captain’s Day. It is an unbelievable honour for us to be Thomas’s home club as he leads Europe’s golfers towards the 42nd Ryder Cup matches in France next year.

“Thomas was wonderful with all the golfers who played today, and even allowed a few of them to beat the pro! But you could see that he is still a world-class golfer, and also a world-class Captain and ambassador both for ourselves, and on a much wider scale for the European Tour and the European Ryder Cup team. Many of us will try to be there next year to cheer him on as he sets out to win the Cup back for Europe, and we thoroughly look forward to his next visit to The Shire London.”

See www.theshirelondon.com for more information, or follow the club on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


CONTACT THE SHIRE LONDON: Ceri Menai-Davis | +44 (0)20 8441 7649 | ceri@theshirelondon.com  
MEDIA: Andy Hiseman at Magic Hour Media | +44 (0)7795 360112 | andy@hiseman.com  
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The 2018 Ryder Cup and Shire London Captain with the 2017 Thomas Bjørn Trophy competitors at The Shire London on 9th October 2017. Photo credit: Andy Hiseman

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Thomas Bjørn makes his stirring speech after the 2017 Thomas Bjørn Trophy at The Shire London on 9th October 2017. Photo credit: Andy Hiseman

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Thomas Bjørn tees off on the 7th at The Shire London in the 2017 Thomas Bjørn Trophy on 9th October 2017. Photo credit: Andy Hiseman

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He beat the pro! Thomas Bjørn congratulates a golfer on the 7th tee at The Shire London during the 2017 Thomas Bjørn Trophy on 9th October 2017. Photo credit: Andy Hiseman


The Shire London is a 27-hole facility near Barnet, north London, featuring the only Severiano Ballesteros-designed golf course in the UK. In 2016 golfers on Golfshake.com voted The Shire London the highest-rated golf club in London, ranking it #1 among all clubs inside the M25. Among golf clubs with 50 online reviews or more, The Shire London is also rated #1 in Hertfordshire, #8 in England and #15 in the entire United Kingdom as of summer 2016.

Its 18-hole Ballesteros Masters Course measures 7,028 yards, with six par 3s, six par 4s and six par 5s. Its 9-hole Academy Course features a mix of par 3s and 4s, and is the ideal introduction to golf for all ages and abilities. The Shire Academy is one of the leading teaching centres in the south of England, with exceptional facilities both covered and outdoors. With a stylish open-plan clubhouse featuring a patio with stunning sunset views across the golf course, first-class conference and banqueting rooms and a highly-rated restaurant, The Shire London is also a well-equipped and popular venue for golf societies, corporate golf days, weddings, meetings and large social functions. It is situated two minutes from M25 Junction 23 (A1(M) South Mimms intersection), with easy access to the motorway network.

Sister facility the West London Golf Centre is a popular new public golf facility located near Northolt in West London. One of London’s best-equipped golf centres, WLGC features a challenging 9-hole, 3,037 Yard Par 36 golf course; a floodlit 26-bay range; a Dinosaur Adventure Golf attraction; a Putting & Short Game Zone; a 4,500sq ft american golf superstore offering custom-fitting; a golf school; and a fully-licensed Coffee House bar and restaurant. Another 18 holes will soon be available on the nearby West London Links, a brand-new championship-length golf course.

The Shire London, West London Golf Centre and West London Links are created, owned and operated by The Bridgedown Group. The Group has also announced plans to create The Dye London club near Edgware in north London, bringing world-famous golf architects Dye Designs to the UK for the first time. The Bridgedown Group is a family-run business involving Tony and Anne Menai-Davis and their sons Ceri and Cae.