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Last Updated: Monday, 4 September 2006, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Bjorn rages at Woosnam after snub
Thomas Bjorn
Bjorn claims he hadn't spoken to Woosnam for six months
Thomas Bjorn has lashed out at Ian Woosnam after Europe's Ryder Cup captain left him out of the team to face the United States this month.

Woosnam preferred England's Lee Westwood to the Dane, despite the Englishman being lower in the world rankings and Ryder Cup points table.

"I'm shocked and have totally lost respect for Ian Woosnam," said Bjorn.

"My relationship with him is completely dead. It looks like he needs to learn how to be a captain."

Bjorn, who has played in two Ryder Cups, added: "If the choice had been made only on competitive results, I could go along with it.

"But I'm in front of Lee in all the rankings, I have played better than him in the qualifying phase and then Woosnam bases his decisions on results which are more than five years old."

RYDER CUP BLOG
Rob Hodgetts
BBC Sport golf writer

Bjorn was referring to Westwood's victory at the K Club in Ireland, where the Ryder Cup will take place, in 2000.

Westwood has won two events at the Kildare course, has played in four Ryder Cups and took four-and-a-half points out of five in the Oakland Hills victory in 2004.

Bjorn added: "I don't understand the way he is handling the situation. I hadn't heard from him for six months.

"I have spoken to several of the players who are in the team and they haven't heard a word from Woosnam either.

"To be captain and not even communicate with your team at all - it doesn't give you much respect.

"He came into the bar at the hotel and gave me 20 seconds about Lee having won twice at the K Club. In a bar. That kind of sums it up.

"He can't walk up to me, tell me in 20 seconds and expect me to be happy.

Hopefully when this blows over after a while we can have a few beers over it

Ian Woosnam

"I'm very disappointed. I think he's been very poor in the way he's handled the players."

Explaining his decision to pick Westwood over Bjorn on Sunday, Woosnam said: "Thomas was in the back of my mind.

"It was difficult when I got back to the hotel (on Sunday), he was very disappointed.

"But the reason I went for Lee was because of his record in Ryder Cup."

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, ranked 22nd in the world, was also offered a wildcard after missing the last month of qualification to be with his sick wife, who died in August.

Woosnam added: "I feel sorry for the guys who have missed out.

"I tried to say [to Bjorn], 'I hope you respect my decision. It's been difficult. I know you're going to have a few words about it.'

"I missed out once and I was very disappointed, but someone has got to do the job, someone's got to pick the team.

"Hopefully when this blows over after a while we can have a few beers over it."

The way Thomas has reacted may make Woosie think he's made the right decision

Mark James
1999 European captain

Meanwhile, Mark James, Europe's Ryder Cup skipper in 1999, has criticised Bjorn for his outburst.

"I think he's been out of order. There was a reason Woosie was made captain and that's because he has the faith of the players," James told BBC Radio Five Live.

"Thomas had a year to get into the top 10 and he didn't make it, he finished 13th in the list. I don't see any reason why he expects an automatic wildcard.

"The way Thomas has reacted may make Woosie think he's made the right decision."

James also said Woosnam was right not to give too much away to prospective players before making his picks.

"When I was captain I tried to say very little to the players because if you say the wrong thing a player will get the wrong impression. So Woosie's right to play his cards close to his chest."



EUROPEAN RYDER CUP TEAM

 

US RYDER CUP TEAM

 

SEE ALSO
K Club calling
28 Aug 06 |  Golf


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