Top 5: Greatest moments of Ian Woosnam's career

The Scoop

We take a look at the highlights of Hall of Fame inductee Ian Woosnam's career

When the World Golf Hall of Fame was shortlisting potential candidates for its class of 2017, Ian Woosnam’s name would have been at the top of many people’s list.

The Masters champion, Ryder Cup star and Welsh hero was one of the high-profile players of the men’s game bizarrely missing from a 150-strong Hall of Fame membership.

But that has been rectified with the announcement of the class of 2017, which includes Woosnam, 2016 Ryder Cup winning captain Davis Love III, former women’s world No 1 Lorena Ochoa, 18-time LPGA Tour winner Meg Mallon and English golf writer and commentator Henry Longhurst, who died in 1978.

Woosnam is one of the most respected golfers of his generation and when looking at his greatest achievements, it’s not hard to see why.

5. First victory on the European Tour

Ian Woosnam

The breathtaking Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre in the Swiss Alps was the scene for Woosnam’s maiden European Tour win in 1982.

The Welshman had turned professional in 1976 and joined the European Tour three years later. He reportedly spent his early years on Tour driving around the continent in a camper van.

But his career took off with a play-off victory over Scotland’s Bill Longmuir in the 1982 Ebel Swiss Open, now known as the Omega European Masters.

The now 58-year-old won 29 times overall on the European Tour, with his last victory arriving in the 1997 Volvo PGA Championship.

A moment of magic in the snowy Alps was the catalyst for launching the career of Wales’ most decorated golfer.

4. A formidable Ryder Cup partnership with Sir Nick

Ian Woosnam

Surprisingly, Woosnam never won a singles match in any of his eight Ryder Cup appearances, but that didn’t stop him from assembling an impressive record.

He played in eight consecutive European Ryder Cup teams from 1983 to 1997 and recorded 14 wins, 12 losses and five halves in 31 matches.

However, his Ryder Cup playing career is best known for the partnership he formed with six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo.

The duo are third on the all-time European partnership points list with six, having won five, lost two and halved two.

Woosnam got his hands on the Ryder Cup fives times as a player as Europe began its era of dominance.

3. On top of the word

Ian Woosnam

The early 90s represented the pinnacle of Woosnam’s career, not least for his outstanding hair do.

On April 7, 1991, he reached the top of the world golf rankings and would stay there for 50 weeks.

It cemented his place in the “Big Five” generation of European golfers alongside Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, and Sandy Lyle.

2. Skippering Europe to Ryder Cup glory

Ian Woosnam

Europe went to the K Club in Ireland on the back of two convincing victories over the USA in the previous two instalments.

The pressure was on Woosnam to deliver a third straight title in the first Ryder Cup to be played in Ireland.

And the popular skipper certainly delivered.

He selected Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke as his two wildcards with the pair having previously enjoyed a solid partnership.

It was an emotional tournament for Clarke after he was selected just weeks after his wife Heather died.

Woosnam’s selections paid off as the Westwood and Clarke combo picked up two wins from two. They were also both victorious in the singles.

Europe dominated the singles matches on the Sunday, winning eight of the 12 games to clinch an 18.5-9.5 win.

1. Green Jacket joy for Woosie

Ian Woosnam

Despite having been a high-profile member of the European Tour since 1979, Woosnam only made his Masters debut in 1988.

British golfers were in a mini spell of domination at Augusta National. The coveted first Major of the season had been won by Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo (twice) in the three previous years.

And the 1991 tournament came down to the very last hole as Woosnam, Tom Watson and Jose Maria Olazabal were locked together at 11-under-par.

Watson double-bogeyed the 18th and Olazabal failed to make par, leaving the door open for the 33-year-old Welshman.

He had to hole an eight-foot putt to write his name in Masters history, while a bogey would have seen him drop into a play-off with Olazabal.

Ice-cool Woosnam sank the putt and the famous image of him dropping to one knee to celebrate was captured.

Read more

Previous article
Next article
Top