Ian Harold Woosnam OBE (born 2 March 1958) is a British golfer who represents Wales. He was born in the town of Oswestry in England, and his family lived in the nearby village of St Martins in Shropshire. He started playing at the unique Llanymynech Golf Club - which is partly in Wales and partly in England. Woosnam was one of the "Big Five" generation of European golfers, all born within 12 months of one another, who all 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. He now lives in Jersey.
Woosnam is short for a male golfer at 5 ft 4½ in (1.64 m), 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. 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.
Woosnam was 3rd in the 1986 Open Championship. In 1991, he reached the top of the Official World Golf Rankings, eventually spending a total of 50 weeks as World Number 1. In the same year he emulated his British rivals, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo, by winning the US Masters; the first person representing Wales to ever win a major. He has won 28 official money events on the European Tour and many other events around the world.
In the late 1990s his form began to fade, but he nearly made a spectacular comeback at The Open Championship in 2001, when he finished third despite suffering a two-stroke penalty for starting the final round with 15 clubs in his bag instead of the allowable maximum of 14. He fired his caddie two weeks later when, after a night drinking on the town, he failed to turn up. That same year Woosnam became the first player to capture the Wentworth World Match Play Championship in three decades.
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 by thrashing U.S.A. 18½-9½. This will be a one-off assignment as Nick Faldo was elected for 2008 at the same time.
Woosnam was awarded an O.B.E. in the 2007 New Years Honours List.
The Welsh golfer won the -
- 1982 Ebel Swiss Open
- 1983 Silk Cut Masters
- 1984 Scandinavian Enterprise Open
- 1986 Lawrence Batley International T.P.C.
- 1987 Lancome Trophy, Bell's Scottish Open, Cepsa Madrid Open, Jersey Open
- 1988 Panasonic European Open, Carroll's Irish Open, Volvo PGA Championship
- 1989 Carroll's Irish Open
- 1990 Epson Grand Prix of Europe, Bell's Scottish Open, Torras Monte Carlo Open, Amex Med Open
- 1991 Torras Monte Carlo Golf Open, Fujitsu Mediterranean Open
- 1992 European Monte Carlo Open
- 1993 Trophee Lancome, Murphy's English Open
- 1994 Dunhill British Masters, Air France Cannes Open
- 1996 Volvo German Open, Scottish Open, Heineken Classic, Johnnie Walker Classic
- 1997 Volvo PGA Championship
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