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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
Woosnam backs Dodd for Open glory
Stephen Dodd
Woosnam says Dodd has the talent to win the Claret Jug
Ian Woosnam says that fellow Welshman Stephen Dodd has the game to win the Open and claim a Ryder Cup spot.

Woosnam will be concentrating on his duties as Ryder Cup captain, having failed to qualify for the Open for the second time in three years.

But he will keep an eye on compatriots Dodd, Bradley Dredge, Phil Price, Jamie Donaldson and Mark Pilkington at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club this week.

"Hoylake will suit Dodd, he likes playing in the wind," said Woosnam.

"I'm sure it will be blustery on the Wirral and he drives the ball well and can move it both ways.

"The European Open victory was a big win for Stephen and has catapulted him to 16th in the Ryder Cup points list.

A captain needs calm and composed players in the pressure of Ryder Cup and Stephen's like Retief Goosen in that way

Ian Woosnam

"That's a very good position to challenge from, he's confident and in a rich vein of form.

"I'd like to see him performing as well as I know he can in the majors and stepping up to make a Cup place his own.

"What should favour him in the major events is that he's so cool under pressure - I'd love to put a heart monitor on him as I don't think he has a heart-beat!

"A captain needs calm and composed players in the pressure of Ryder Cup and Stephen's like Retief Goosen in that way, he never gives an indication of the emotions he's feeling inside."

World number 60 Dodd has missed the cut in his two previous Opens, at St Andrews last year and at Royal Troon in 1989 when he was still an amateur.

Ian Woosnam celebrates his Masters triumph
Woosnam won the 1991 Masters

He also failed to make the weekend in his other major appearances, at the Masters in 1990 and last year's US PGA.

Chirk-born former world number one and 1991 Masters champion Woosnam also had words of encouragement for his other countrymen.

"Bradley Dredge is a very good talent who's getting stronger and stronger and the wins will come with experience," said the 48-year-old.

"Phil Price is a vastly experienced player who has played at the highest level, he's going through a transition period right now but I'm sure he'll be competitive again if he wants to be.

"Jamie Donaldson and Mark Pilkington are promising younger players who'll be better for playing at huge world events like the Open."

Hoylake needs a bit of wind, otherwise long-driving players like Tiger Woods will find it pretty easy

Ian Woosnam

Woosnam - who plans to watch the tournament on TV - admitted disappointment at missing this year's event.

The 48-year-old hopes for wind to make the race for the Claret Jug competitive at the 7,258-yard course.

"I played there last month and it needs a bit of wind, otherwise long-driving players like Tiger Woods will find it pretty easy," said Woosnam, whose last tournament triumph was the Cisco World Match Play at Wentworth in 2001.

"The fairways are small, but without wind they won't be difficult to hit and the ball bounces so far.

"We could have a very low score if the breeze drops. I'll be hoping for some wind to make things interesting."

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