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Valhalla Golf Club
(L-R) Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer and Sam Torrance, Europe's last three victorious Captains get together at the Casa Serena Open(Phil Inglis)

Winning Captains confident of European success

By Steve Todd,

Print News

Bernhard Langer, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, Europe's three most recent Ryder Cup winning Captains, believe Nick Faldo's Team will head to Valhalla with a superb chance of achieving an unprecedented fourth successive victory.

The trio, who played alongside each other in the Casa Serena Open on the European Seniors Tour last week, each feel Faldo has the right balance in his Team to bring the trophy back to Europe again.

It was Torrance's Team at The Belfry in 2002 that sparked Europe's current winning streak, with a memorable 15� - 12� victory. Langer then led Europe to a record 18� - 9� victory at Oakland Hills Golf Club in 2004, a winning margin that was matched by Woosnam's troops at The K Club two years ago.

Now Faldo's Team could create history if they can land a fourth successive victory since the turn of the millennium and Scotsman Torrance is confident that Faldo has the 12-man Team to do it.

"It's a great team. It's a very well rounded team and there are lots of pairings in there," said Torrance.

"Nick can almost pair anyone with anyone. We are definitely favourites. We have a lot of strength in depth now. The Americans used to have that strength in depth but they don't seem to anymore. It's all positive on our side, it just depends what the course is like and how they stand up to the pressure.

"We have a perfect balance. Justin Rose as a rookie is awesome. To go into The Ryder Cup with that much experience as a rookie must be great. Oliver Wilson too. I think the second shot he hit on 16 on the Friday at Gleneagles was magnificent. He was three over par and the cut was two over so he's last man in and he knows his Ryder Cup place is on the line and he hit driver off the fairway over the water on to the green, made the birdie and made the cut and secured his spot. To me that was just fantastic.

"It's a very strong team. I certainly expect them to win," added Torrance.

German Langer is equally impressed by the talent at Faldo's disposal and tipped Europe to lift The Ryder Cup again this year.

He said: "We have a very strong team and lots of them are playing well lately so I think they are going to do well. The guys have tried hard all year to qualify and the top 10 who have are good players. Nick has also picked a couple of good Englishmen to strengthen the team so I see no reason why they shouldn't do well.

"I think they are favourites now after we have won three times in a row and the last two times were landslide victories. We have a different team -we have no Monty, no Darren Clarke - but you have Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia and a bunch of others who have won some big events and, of course, Padraig Harrington. The new players have just got to treat it like any other tournament, play their own game and get over the occasion. I'm sure some of the older guys will help them along. I think they are favourites and they are playing well so they can do it."

Woosnam expects Europe to handle the pressure in Kentucky and said the Team had nothing to fear -- including the Valhalla course.

"It's a strong team and I think we've got a really good chance of winning again," said the Welshman. "All the guys seem to be playing pretty well and I think they've just got to go out and bond like the usually do and they've got every chance of winning again.

"I think our guys can play anywhere in the world and they have proved that. It doesn't matter how they set the course up, our guys can play on it. If it was me there would be nothing to scare me going out there.

"Wilson is the less experienced player but he will learn a lot that week. I hope we can do it again. It would be nice to get four in a row."