Will Thorbjørn Olesen Be Golf’s First Great Dane?
By Conor Nagle under European PGA Tour

At only 22, the Dane is significantly ahead of the curve.

Though he collected no fewer than three second-place finishes over the course of 2011, it was the first outing of Thorbjørn Olesen’s sophomore season on the European Tour that brought him to public prominence. After leading an elite field at the halfway stage of the Abu Dhabi Championship, he faltered slightly over the closing rounds to finish the tournament in eighth place.

It was, nonetheless, a result that succeeded in underscoring both the depth of the Dane’s talent and the likelihood, given his age (a mere 22), that he’ll be a fixture on the European Tour for years to come.

Reuters carries a brief primer on the youngster today, in which he attributes his robust self-confidence to the success of US Open champion Rory McIlroy.

“My main goal is to win my first tournament,” he told Reuters in an interview ahead of this week’s Dubai Desert Classic. “Every tournament I’m trying to be there on the Sunday and at least have the opportunity to win.

“I think what Rory has done is incredible. He’s a great player and it helps us young guys to see it’s possible to go out there and win the big tournaments.”

His technique is yet to be honed – his putting is streaky and an elaborate, slightly contrived finish betrays a swing overly conscious of its own aesthetic element – but Olesen’s compatriot, Thomas Bjørn, thinks the 22-year-old’s talent undeniable.

“I saw Sergio Garcia arrive on the scene, Rory arrive on the scene and this boy (Olesen) has it all, everything to be a world class player.

“When you’re young, patience is one of the things you don’t have … it’s going to come for Olesen because the talent is there,” Bjørn added.”

Olesen may yet become the first Scandinavian to claim a major championship (an honour that should have gone the way of Bjørn at the 2003 Open Championship), but this week he has his sights set on the more modest promise of the Dubai Desert Classic, the very tournament at which his contemporary, Rory McIlroy, claimed his maiden victory all of three years ago.

Conor Nagle