Ryder Cup LogoRyder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Ian Woosnam of Wales (right) and Vice-captain Peter Baker (left) pose with the Ryder Cup trophy at The Smurfit European Open on June 29, 2005 in Straffan, Ireland. (Photo: Getty Images)

Woosnam Appoints his Vice Captains for 2006

Ian Woosnam on Wednesday announced Des Smyth and Peter Baker, both former Ryder Cup players, as his Vice Captains for The 36th Ryder Cup Match.

30 June 2005

STRAFFAN, Ireland -- Ian Woosnam on Wednesday announced that Des Smyth and Peter Baker, both former Ryder Cup players, will be his Vice Captains for The 36th Ryder Cup at The K Club, Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland, from September 22-24, 2006.

Woosnam, who celebrated his 47th birthday on March 2 when he accepted the invitation to be European Captain from the Tournament Committee of The European Tour, is already well advanced in his planning for the biennial match with the United States.

"Des and Peter are good friends and they are also superbly placed to provide me with the invaluable support I require for the match," Woosnam explained. "Des is a very special guy. I said when I was appointed that an Irishman would be Vice Captain and I'm confident all his compatriots would agree that he is a great choice. He's also been on Tour longer than I have - so that makes me feel young!

"Peter is everybody's friend on the Tour and has been since he first played in 1986. He has a great sense of humour and as we all know each European Team has a togetherness, allied to fun, so important in bonding team spirit."

John O'Donoghue, Minister of Arts, Sport and Tourism for Ireland, said: "All of Ireland, and particularly his home town of Drogheda will be delighted that Des will represent Ireland as Vice Captain during Ryder Cup 2006. As one of our true golfing legends he will be bringing a wealth of expertise to support the European Team. The Ryder Cup will be the major event in our sporting calendar next year, showcasing great golf but also reinforcing Ireland's reputation as a premier golfing destination. I am greatly anticipating the start of the qualifying procedure in September and hope to see more of our Irish golfers joining Des at The K Club next year."

Smyth, aged 52, turned professional in 1974 and his win in the Sun Alliance European Match Play Championship in 1979 was the first of eight European Tour titles with his success in the 2001 Madeira Island Open at the age of 48 years and 34 days making him the oldest champion in the history of the Tour. He played in the 1979 Ryder Cup and also the 1981 edition when on the first day he enjoyed victories with Bernard Gallacher in the foursomes and Jose Maria Canizares in the fourballs. His wins in the SBC Classic Georgia-Pacific Grand Champions and the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf on the 2005 US Champions Tour have taken to 15 his total of worldwide wins.

Baker, aged 37, who turned professional in 1986, became Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year in 1987 then captured his first title in the 1988 Benson and Hedges International Open with two incredible eagles at the 18th hole - the first to tie Nick Faldo after 72 holes and the second to win the play-off. He played in the 1993 Ryder Cup Match at The Belfry where he not only won his singles against Corey Pavin but also both his fourball matches with...Ian Woosnam.

Smyth said: "This is a huge thrill for both my wife Vicki and myself - I'm so proud to be offered the opportunity to be part of The Ryder Cup Team in Ireland. We all know how far this match has moved on, certainly since I first played in 1979, and we also know that Ireland will be a fabulous host country."

Baker said: "Ian and I have been good friends ever since I joined the Tour - and I've never forgotten that experience with him at the 1993 Ryder Cup. I'm so delighted to be part of his 'team' at The K Club and my wife Helen and I are so looking forward to the next year helping to plan for the match."

Woosnam added: "We have in Des and Peter two very experienced guys and I know, like me, they are not only overjoyed but also very proud to be involved in the next Ryder Cup. I know that Des's wife Vicki and Peter's wife Helen will also be as committed to the cause as my wife Glen, and we are all looking forward to the qualifying procedure beginning at the Omega European Masters in September."

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