Thomas Bjorn admitted he couldn’t afford to let his heart rule his head over Thorbjorn Olesen but was delighted to see his fellow Dane sizzle in the singles in the 42nd Ryder Cup in France.
Olesen, one of five rookies in the home team at Le Golf National near Paris, lost alongside Rory McIlroy in the opening fourballs and was then left out of the next three sessions.
But he came out with all guns firing on the last day, beating three-time major winner Jordan Spieth 5&4 as Europe reclaimed the trophy with a resounding 17.5-10.5 success.
“Amazing,” said Bjorn of his compatriot’s display. “I’m proud of all of them but, as a friend, as a Dane, he’s probably the one that I’m most proud of for what he did on Sunday.
“That was tough for him. It was tough for me to leave him out on Saturday because I’m so close to him. I wanted to play him five times in my heart, but in my brain I had to go with what was right for the 12 of them.
“Leaving him out on Saturday was extremely difficult, it really was. It says so much about his character. Not everybody can do what he did on Sunday.
“He really stood up and he was angry in the right way, if you put it that way, and he used it. He channelled that out on the golf course to win a point.”
Olesen, who gets straight back down to individual matters in this week’s Dunhill Links Championship, an event he won in 2015, was delighted that he managed to help Europe get across the finishing line on the last day.
“I was a little bit frustrated that I didn’t get to play on Saturday, I felt like I wanted to prove something after Rory and I lost on Friday morning,” he said. “I wanted to get back out there and prove that I was good enough and I could win a point for Europe. I’m proud of the way I went out there. I was fired up after Saturday.”
Bjorn himself was left out of the opening day’s play on his debut as a player at Valderrama in 1997 and Olesen added: “He said he was very, very proud of me and he knew Saturday was a tough day for me, it was long and to not be a part of it you feel a little bit outside.
“He just told me he’s done that before in his career and it was a very, very tough decision for him, but I respected 100 per cent what he did and the boys played really well on Saturday and Friday afternoon and it all went to plan.
“Sunday was for myself, and also for the team obviously, but especially for myself. To go out and prove I could win a point for Europe was pretty special.
“I was excited when I saw the draw,” Olesen added. “Jordan is a nice guy but he’s a great competitor and a great player and he’s been really good in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cup so I was very excited to go out against a guy whose done so well in these competitions.
“It’s always nice when you get to battle with one of the great players and I was happy that I got to hole that birdie putt on the second to get the crowd going, so they were on my side the whole time. It was important to make a fist-pump and get that going. It was an unbelievable experience.”