Ryder Cup LogoRyder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
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Woosnam, Faldo named European Captains for 2006, 2008

Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo have accepted invitations from the Tournament Committee of The European Tour, ratified by The Ryder Cup Policy Board, to captain the European Teams in The 36th and 37th Ryder Cup Matches respectively.

01 June 2005

Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo have accepted invitations from the Tournament Committee of The European Tour, ratified by The Ryder Cup Policy Board, to captain the European Teams in The 36th and 37th Ryder Cup Matches respectively.

Woosnam, who celebrates his 47th birthday today (Wednesday, March 2), will be the Captain for The 36th Ryder Cup Match at The K Club, Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland, from September 22-24, 2006. He becomes the 20th golfer to captain a Ryder Cup Team against the United States and the third Welshman, following in the footsteps of Dai Rees (1955, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1967) and Brian Huggett (1977).

Faldo, aged 47, will be the Captain for The 37th Ryder Cup Match at Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky, in September, 2008. He made 11 successive appearances as a player from 1977 and remains the all-time record points scorer with 23 wins and four halved matches from 46 matches.

Woosnam succeeds Germany's Bernhard Langer, who led Europe to an 18%-9% victory over the United States at Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Township, Michigan, USA, last September.

"What a fantastic way to celebrate my birthday," Woosnam said. "My wife, Glen, and I are absolutely delighted. The Ryder Cup has been a big part in our lives and it is a huge honour to be named Captain of The European Team. It makes me feel very proud especially as Wales has such a great tradition of producing Ryder Cup Captains.

"I've enjoyed the thrill of playing under three superb Ryder Cup Captains in Tony Jacklin, Bernard Gallacher and Seve Ballesteros and, of course I was Assistant Captain to Sam Torrance in 2002. So, after being involved in no fewer than nine matches from 1983, I can't tell you how much I missed not being involved last year. Now it's all systems go for 2006 and Ireland.

"I have a great affinity for Irish golf and especially the Irish golf fans. They are tremendous supporters of the game and very, very knowledgeable. Winning back to back Irish Opens in 1988 and 1989 remains one of the highlights of my career.

"Nevertheless, there is nothing like winning the Ryder Cup. I was lucky enough to enjoy that feeling five times as a player and once as Assistant to Sam, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to lead us to a successful defence next year. In fact I would like to create a little history. Europe has held The Ryder Cup three successive times because we tied in 1989 after winning in 1985 and 1987, but we have never won three successive matches. So I need to follow on from Sam and Bernhard's fantastic achievements in 2002 and 2004.

"I learned such a lot from working with and alongside Sam when we won at The Belfry in 2002 that I know it will stand me in good stead. I also know it is going to be a tremendously hard job to follow straight after Bernhard, our winning Captain from last year, but I will do my utmost to help the team at The K Club.

"At the end of the day we want to win in Ireland and we want to keep both hands on Samuel Ryder's trophy. But let's not forget that from a European viewpoint Sam and Bernhard, in winning, also ensured that the true traditions of the game were upheld and that fair play and good sportsmanship were top of the agenda. My stance is that it should be no different at The K Club and I know Captain Tom Lehman and his American Team will, like ourselves, look forward to a close, exciting and sporting contest.

"One other thing. Just in case anyone doubts my desire as a player - I can assure you I'm still out here to win. I've made the commitment, however, to captain the 2006 European Team, not to play in it, and I'll be focusing on getting everything right in the lead-up to Ireland."

Woosnam was born in Oswestry and moved to Jersey in the Channel Islands in 1993, where he lives with his wife, Glendryth, whom he married in 1983, and their children Daniel, 20, Rebecca, 16, and Ami, 13.

The son of Joan and Harold, a farmer, Woosnam grew up at St. Martin's, where Shropshire borders Wales, and first played with a sawn-off set of clubs at Llanmynech. He turned professional in 1976 and made three visits to the Qualifying School before establishing himself on The European Tour on which he gained the first of his 29 victories in the Swiss Open in 1982. In 1987 he finished Number One on the Order of Merit and did so again in 1990. He made 17 appearances for Wales in the World Cup, winning in 1987 alongside David Llewellyn.

In 1993 Woosnam became the first and so far only European Ryder Cup player to claim the maximum four points from the two foursomes and two fourball matches. He partnered Bernhard Langer in the foursomes and Peter Baker in the fourballs.

In all, Woosnam has won 44 tournaments worldwide with the highlight being his success in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National in 1991. "When I was a ten year old at Llanmynech I dreamed of having a putt to win the Masters," he said. "I lived for that moment, that one moment in time. It was very, very special.

"Mind you there have been many, many special moments at The Ryder Cup since I made my debut at West Palm Beach in 1983 with Sam Torrance in the fourballs against Ben Crenshaw and Calvin Peete. I was so nervous I was shaking! Sam said 'Don't worry - I'll look after you. It'll be OK.' So he shanks his first drive straight out of bounds and he goes out of bounds at the next and then he hits it in the water! I didn't see him for three holes although it seemed like three days! Then he made seven birdies and we halved the match. That was good fun? the start of a great adventure. Now I look forward to it continuing."

Faldo, who will become the 21st golfer to captain a European Ryder Cup Team against the United States and the 11th Englishman, said: "This is a proud day for both of us. It is a huge honour to be named Captain of The European Ryder Cup Team in 2008, and I can't say how excited I am at the prospect of leading the side in the United States.

"The Ryder Cup has always been extremely important to me and I will look forward to planning for that match but for now its Ian's time and I wish him the best for his captaincy.

"If The European Team can secure a record third straight win at The K Club, then that would be fantastic - it would really set up an historic match at Valhalla. I've spent a lot of my career in America and I've always enjoyed the support of the people and the challenge of competing on the other side of the pond. I hope my profile and success in the United States will be an advantage to The European Team.

"The Ryder Cup is one of the most exciting and important competitions in the golfing calendar and never fails to inspire both team members and spectators alike. With 11 previous appearances I have so many fond memories of my time as a player and am honoured to be joining the list of great names that have captained The European Team in the past. Having played under five different captains, I have picked up a few tips along the way and hope that I can draw on my own experiences to guide The European Team to victory."

Faldo was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, where at the age of 14 he struck his formative shots after being drawn to the game when he saw Jack Nicklaus winning the Masters Tournament on television. He subsequently won the Masters in 1989, 1990 and 1996 and he can also count three Open Championship successes among his 39 worldwide wins which include 30 on The European Tour where he won a record four PGA Championships. He was Number One on the Order of Merit in 1983 and again in 1992.

Faldo launched his Ryder Cup career at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1977 where he won three points out of three. Along with his partner, Peter Oosterhuis, he beat Ray Floyd and Lou Graham, then Jack Nicklaus and Floyd the next day and after that Tom Watson, the winner of the Masters and Open Championship, in the singles. Faldo went on to have a prolific Ryder Cup career with a record 11 appearances. He also holds the record for the most number of matches played and points scored.

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