Ryder Cup Logo Ryder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
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Lehman hails European captain Woosnam as formidable foe

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman said Ian Woosnam "has all the experience necessary to be a leader and I know that his team will reflect his tenacity in the matches."

May 05, 2005

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (PA) -- United States Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman has admitted European counterpart Ian Woosnam will be a formidable foe.

On his 47th birthday, Woosnam was, as expected, named as the man who will lead Europe's defense of the trophy against America at the K Club near Dublin in September of 2006. He is an opponent Lehman knows well, and one he holds in high regard.

"Of the three Ryder Cup teams that I've been a member, two of them came when Ian was playing for Europe," Lehman said. "I have great respect for him, and his competitive ability. With eight Ryder Cup appearances under his belt, he has all the experience necessary to be a leader and I know that his team will reflect his tenacity in the matches."

Woosnam is in the Middle East for the Dubai Desert Classic. He still has ambitions on the course, but has already decided he will be a non-playing captain, even if he were to begin winning majors again.

Another decision instantly taken was to appoint an Irish vice-captain for the first match on Irish soil. He will reveal who it is at the K Club during this summer's Smurfit European Open, but the front-runner appears to be veteran Des Smyth.

Meanwhile Thursday, Sandy Lyle spoke about the disappointment of missing out on the European Ryder Cup captaincy again.

With Woosnam and Nick Faldo being named for the next two Matches on Wednesday, the 46-year-old doubts if he will ever be given the job now.

"I don't know why they have done two in one fell swoop. They have never done it before and there's a lot of water to flow under the bridge yet," said Lyle, who like Woosnam lost out to Bernhard Langer last time. "Basically that's it for me now, I think."

And the former Open and Masters champion doubts if he will be called upon to act as one of Woosnam's assistants, either.

"He's already said there's going to be a vice-captain from Ireland and I think his two strongest pals are D.J. Russell and Peter Baker," he added. "I'll have to fill in some divot holes for him on the practice range."

Copyright 2005 PA Sport. All rights reserved.

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