Thomas Bjorn has capped a tremendous spell of golf by qualifying for his first Ryder Cup team in 12 years

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Thomas Bjorn has capped a tremendous spell of golf by qualifying for his first Ryder Cup team in 12 years – something he feels is one of his greatest golfing achievements.

The first Dane to earn a Ryder Cup berth hasn’t appeared on the European team since 2002 at The Belfry, where this year’s captain, Paul McGinley, holed the winning putt.

He came close to qualifying for Medinah following three wins in 2011 but had to settle for a vice-captain role, a position he also occupied at Celtic Manor two years previously.

And Bjorn, now 43, has admitted his pride at playing some of his best golf to secure a space in a side brimming with talent and labeled by many as the best European team ever.

“I am delighted that I could make it here. This was an extremely difficult team to make on merit. From all the way down in my heart it feels good to be back,” said Bjorn.

The Dane also admitted he thought he’d missed his chance to represent Europe for the last time in Chicago two years ago.

“Last time I got pretty close to making the team, and played some pretty decent golf, and I honestly thought that might have been my last chance.

“I’m pushing on in age but I have been very determined with my golf.

“You get to a stage in your career when you’re afraid of letting it go, and you find ways of getting round golf courses.

“I played really well at the back end of last year and have stayed focused on my golf, not what it could lead to.”

Bjorn has played in two previous Ryder Cup teams – at Valderrama in 1997 and The Belfry in 2002 – winning 3.5 points from his six matches.

But his wealth of experience and strong form have convinced many he could be one of the unheralded stars of the European team.

With so many world-class players in the European ranks and Bjorn playing the majority of his golf on the European Tour, his qualification is all the more impressive.

“To come back into this team is one of the better achievements of my career,” said Bjorn.

“When I look at my teammates and see what kind of players are in this team, it’s such a strong team and I am just delighted to be part of it on merit.

“There’s no questions about why I am here. I’ve played the golf to get in the team and that makes for good confidence, and that’s the most important thing – I am here for a reason.”