DURBAN, South Africa – The Ryder Cup is a long way away but not in the mind of Thomas Bjorn. It's right there in the back.
Victory in his first tournament of the new 2013-14 season, at the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City a month ago, has him lying second in Europe's Ryder Cup standings, and a little excited already that he could qualify as a player for the first time in 12 years.
But Bjorn insists he's not getting ahead of himself, not while he's gearing up to win a second straight European Tour start in South Africa this week, in the Volvo Champions at Durban Country Club beside the Indian Ocean.
"I've got off to a fantastic start in the qualifying and I've had it in the back of my mind I want to play in another Ryder Cup," Bjorn said. "However, I still have a lot to do to get there, but then making the team sits there on the list and people are going to talk about it and I'm starting to get the questions, especially at home.
"But the focus will stay on the very short future and not something that happens in eight months' time."
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Bjorn's exuberance is understandable. He's won every Ryder Cup he's been involved in. He was the first Dane to play in the cup in 1997 and 2002, and was a vice captain in `04, `10 and `12.
His only fear is injury. He turns 43 next month, and knows his limitations.
"You can look at Miguel Angel (Jimenez) who's now 50, but he's not been through the injuries in his career.
"I've been injured on and off since I was 18 years old, and I still wake up every morning with pains and aches that are a problem for me," he added. "They can put a stop to my career any day, so why not enjoy the moment that I'm in.
"Last year was probably the best year I've had without pain, and I played good for the most part," he said. "I have to be realistic with myself, that in starting out this week on my 19th season on the European Tour, to just try and enjoy everything that's in front of me."