Ian Harold Woosnam
OBE (born 2 March 1958) is a Welsh professional golfer.
Nicknamed 'Woosie', 'Woosers', or the 'Wee Welshman', Woosnam was one of the "Big Five" generation of European golfers, all born within 12 months of one another, all of whom have won majors, and made Europe competitive in the Ryder Cup. His peers in this group were Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, and Sandy Lyle.
Woosnam was born in the town of Oswestry, Shropshire in England, and his family lived in the nearby village of St Martin's in Shropshire. He started playing at the unique Llanymynech Golf Club, which straddles the Wales-England border. He is short for a male golfer at 1.64 m (5 ft 4 1⁄2 in), but he is a powerful hitter. He played as an amateur in regional competitions in the English county of Shropshire alongside Sandy Lyle.
Woosnam turned professional in 1976 and first played the European Tour in 1979. Woosnam spent his early years on Tour driving around the continent in a camper van, living on a diet of baked beans to save money. After three modest seasons, his career took off in 1982 when he won the Swiss Open and came eighth on the Order of Merit (prize money list). He also finished in the top ten on the Order of Merit every year from 1983 to 1991 and again in 1993, 1996, and 1997, making thirteen times in all. In 1987 and 1990 he was first, and in the former year he set a world record for global tournament earnings of £1,062,662. He has won 28 official money events on the European Tour and many other events around the world.
Woosnam placed third in the 1986 Open Championship. In 1991, he reached the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, eventually spending a total of 50 weeks as World Number 1 (7 April 1991 – 21 March 1992). In the same year, he emulated his British rivals, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo, by winning the Masters Tournament; the first person representing Wales to ever win a major championship.
Woosnam was a member of eight consecutive European Ryder Cup teams from 1983 to 1997. Despite not winning a singles match he accumulated an excellent overall record of 14 wins, 12 losses and 5 halves in 31 matches. He was a vice captain for the 2002 European team and was elected as captain for the 2006 Ryder Cup, leading Europe to victory over the U.S. 18½–9½ at the K Club, County Kildare, Ireland.
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