Ryder Cup European Captain – Ian Woosnam

Ian Woosnam (March 2, 1958) is a British golfer who represents Wales. He was born in the town of Oswestry in England, but is a native of the nearby village of Llanymynech in Powys, across the border in Wales. He started playing at the unique Llanymynech Golf Club – which is partly in Wales and partly in England. Woosnam was one of the “Big Five” generation of European golfers, all born within 12 months of one another, who all won majors, and made Europe competitive in the Ryder Cup. His peers in this group were Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Sandy Lyle. He now lives in Jersey.

Career outline
Woosnam is short for a male golfer at 5 ft 4½ in (1.64 m), but he is a powerful hitter. He played as an amateur in regional competitions in the English county of Shropshire alongside Sandy Lyle. Woosnam turned professional in 1976 and first played the European Tour in 1979. After three modest seasons his career took off in 1982 when he won the Swiss Open and came eighth on the Order of Merit (prize money list). He also finished in the top ten on the Order of Merit every year from 1983 to 1991 and again in 1993, 1996, and 1997, making thirteen times in all. In 1987 and 1990 he was first, and in the former year he set a world record for global tournament earnings of £1,062,662.

Woosnam was 3rd in the 1986 Open Championship. In 1991, he reached the top of the Official World Golf Rankings, eventually spending a total of 50 weeks as World Number 1. In the same year he emulated his British rivals, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo, by winning the US Masters; the first person representing Wales to ever win a major. He has won 28 official money events on the European Tour and many other events around the world.

In the late 1990s his form began to fade, but he nearly made a spectacular comeback at The Open Championship in 2001, when he finished third despite suffering a two-stroke penalty for starting the final round with 15 clubs in his bag instead of the allowable maximum of 14. He fired his caddie for this mistake. That same year Woosnam became the first player to capture the Wentworth World Match Play Championship in three decades.

Woosnam was a member of eight consecutive European Ryder Cup teams from 1983 to 1997. Despite not winning a singles match he accumulated an excellent overall record of 14 wins, 12 losses and 5 halves in 31 matches. He was a vice captain for the 2002 European team and has been elected as captain for 2006. This will be a one-off assignment in the first instance, as Nick Faldo was elected for 2008 at the same time.

Woosnam was awarded an O.B.E. in 1992.

European Tour wins
* 1982 Ebel Swiss Open
* 1983 Silk Cut Masters
* 1984 Scandinavian Enterprise Open
* 1986 Lawrence Batley International T.P.C.
* 1987 Trophée Lancôme, Bell’s Scottish Open, Cepsa Madrid Open, Jersey Open
* 1988 Panasonic European Open, Carroll’s Irish Open, Volvo PGA Championship
* 1989 Carroll’s Irish Open
* 1990 Epson Grand Prix of Europe, Bell’s Scottish Open, Torras Monte Carlo Open, Amex Med Open
* 1991 Torras Monte Carlo Golf Open, Fujitsu Mediterranean Open
* 1992 European Monte Carlo Open
* 1993 Trophée Lancôme, Murphy’s English Open
* 1994 Dunhill British Masters, Air France Cannes Open
* 1996 Volvo German Open, Scottish Open, Heineken Classic, Johnnie Walker Classic
* 1997 Volvo PGA Championship

The Masters didn’t count as a European Tour event in 1991. Note that the list of Woosnams’s European Tour wins on the European Tour’s official site includes several items which are not individual wins in official tournaments.

Other wins
* 1979 News of the World Under-23 Match Play Championship
* 1982 Cacharel Under-25 Championship
* 1985 Zambian Open
* 1986 ‘555’ Kenya Open
* 1987 Suntory World Match Play Championship, Hong Kong Open, Million Dollar Challenge (South Africa), World Cup (team (with David Llewellyn) and individual)
* 1988 Welsh Pro Championship
* 1989 World Cup (individual)
* 1990 Suntory World Match Play Championship
* 1991 The Masters (PGA Tour), USF&G Classic (PGA Tour), PGA Grand Slam of Golf (United States)
* 1997 Hyundai Motor Masters (South Korea)
* 2001 Cisco World Match Play Championship

Team appearances
* World Cup (Wales): 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987 (team and individual winner), 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003.
* Hennessy Cognac Cup: 1982 (winner), 1984
* Ryder Cup: 1983, 1985 (winner), 1987 (winner), 1989 (tied – cup retained, 1991, 1993, 1995 (winner), 1997 (winner). Vice Captain 2002 (winner), Captain 2006.
* Alfred Dunhill Cup (Wales): 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2000
* Four Tours World Championship: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990
* Seve Trophy: (Great Britain & Ireland): 2000, 2002 (winner)
* UBS Cup: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

4 Responses to “Ryder Cup European Captain – Ian Woosnam”

  1. […] Woosnam could really use Clarke’s Ryder Cup experience (he has been on three winning Ryder cup teams since 1997) but it’s unclear whether Darren will accept the offer. Everyone is certainly rooting for him but I think that all Ryder Cup fans will accept that even though the tournament would be better with Darren on board, he may understandably need more time to grieve his wife and be with his sons. […]

  2. […] The Captain is responsible for selecting “two picks” to complete the team of 12 players. The other ten players qualify through a points system based on points earned on The Ryder Cup World Points List and the European Points List over a one year period. Ian Woosnam, the 2006 European Captain, will make his two picks following the conclusion of the BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried, Munich, Germany, on Sunday September 3. […]

  3. […] Ian Woosnam was in the Queens New Years Honours list this year. Woosnam, who captained the victorious European Ryder Cup team at the K Club was awarded an OBE by the Queen. This is a grade above the MBE which Woosie previously held. An OBE is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. […]

  4. […] Wales will host the 38th Ryder Cup in 2010. The event will be held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport in South Wales. Ian Woosnam is the offical ambassador for Team Wales in the run up to the event in 2010. […]

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