x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Ian Woosnam too good a player to be forgotten

Ian Woosnam may have gone out of the headlines in recent years, but that does not mean his achievements should be forgotten.

The only surprise that sprung from Ian Woosnam's announcement this week that he is considering retiring was that most thought he had already stopped.

The Welshman's profile could hardly have been lower since captaining Europe to victory in the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland, and yet he has won four times on the Senior Tour since then. He played in the Masters this year, but rounds of 77 and 78 meant he was never going to trouble the headline writers.

The little man with the big talent, who has suffered from chronic back pain since the mid -1980s, was always vastly under-appreciated.

Despite winning at Augusta in 1991 and soon afterwards going to No 1 in the world rankings, he was always mentioned last as a member of Europe's so-called "Big Five", with Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Sandy Lyle getting higher billing.

However, this working-class boy from a small Welsh town called Oswestry won 48 times in his career and, in 2006, his European team thrashed America, with every one of the 12 players singing their captain's praises.

And there was the 2001 British Open Championship where, at 43, he was on the leader board on the final round when his caddie, Miles Byrne, admitted he had put 15 clubs in the bag and not the allowed 14. That cost Woosnam a two-stroke penalty and he still finished third.

When Woosnam eventually does quit for good, let's make sure he gets a proper send off.


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