Woosnam celebrates 62nd birthday
As Ian Woosnam turns 62 years of age today, we look back on the Welshman’s Ryder Cup career across the ten matches he has been a part of as player, vice-captain and captain.
During his career Woosnam – known as Woosie – played 31 matches for Team Europe, culminating in a record of 14 wins, 12 losses and two halves.
Success as a player came at the 1985, 1987, 1989 (retained), 1995 and 1997 Ryder Cups, with arguably the most memorable of those coming at The 1987 Ryder Cup.
After winning back The Ryder Cup on home soil in 1985, the European team travelled to Muirfield Village Golf Club, USA, knowing that a travelling side had never won on American soil – a record spanning nearly 60 years, dating back to when Great Britain lost 9.5 – 2.5 in the first Ryder Cup in 1927.
What added to the challenge was the fact Jack Nicklaus was captain of the US side and the match was to be played on a course he founded and designed.
However, Europe dominated the opening four pairs sessions and would take a 10.5 – 5.5 lead into the Sunday singles.
Woosnam formed a strong partnership with Nick Faldo as the pair won three and halved one of the four matches where they were paired together.
Their largest victory came in the Friday afternoon fourball session, as the duo defeated Curtis Strange and Tom Kite 5&4.
Despite a strong comeback from the American team, Europe ran out 15-13 winners with Seve Ballesteros holing the winning putt, ending a 58-year wait for a foreign victory on US soil.
The 1999 Masters Tournament champion went on to say: "My most precious Ryder Cup memory was 1987 when we played at Muirfield Village in the US. Jack Nicklaus was the American captain on a course which he had designed.
"He had set it up in a way which he thought would give Europe no chance of winning ... but we did and it was the first time we had ever won in America. That was really special for me."
Woosie was called up as captain for The 2006 Ryder Cup held at The K Club – the first time the event was played in Ireland.
Darren Clarke was selected as one of the Welshman’s captain’s picks, despite the passing of his wife just six weeks earlier.
Emotional scenes followed as Clarke made his way to first tee for the fourth match of the opening fourball session.
However, the Northern Irishman was up to the task and collected three points in three matches – two of which came alongside fellow wildcard Lee Westwood in the two matches they were paired together – as Europe ran out 18.5-9.5 winners.
Henrik Stenson holed the winning putt, which sparked great celebrations on the balcony of The K Club as captain Woosnam downed a pint of Guinness and raised a glass to the raucous Irish crowd.
It’s been some Ryder Cup career for the Welsham, so all we have to say is: Penblwydd hapus, Woosie!