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  Sunday, 22 July, 2001, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
Woosnam on way back
Ian Woosnam
Ian Woosnam is a veteran of the professional tour
BBC Sport Online's Bruce Pope profiles the career of Ian Woosnam after the Welshman finishes joint third in The Open.

Ian Woosnam has gone through a lean spell in the last couple of years but the veteran Welshman produced evidence in The Open at Royal Lytham that he is on his way back.

He finished joint-third on six-under and would have been even closer to winner David Duval, on ten-under, but for an amazing blunder.

Woosnam was given a two-shot penalty on the second tee of his final round after it was discovered he had one club more than the permitted 14 in his bag.

Despite that shattering blow, which clearly angered Woosnam, he continued to play some fine golf.

Golfing guru Peter Cowan has been helping him remodel his swing and the improvement, along with Woosnam's switch to a long-handled putter, is starting to pay dividends.

Although Woosnam's place of birth, Oswestry, is just the English side of the Welsh border, he is a Welshman through and through with two Welsh parents.

Sandy Lyle
Old friend: Sandy Lyle and Woosnam go way back

One of Woosnam's proudest moments was winning the World Cup for Wales in 1987, along with playing partner David Llewellyn.

Woosnam learned to play golf at the local Llanmynech course and was a rival of Sandy Lyle in Shropshire County Golf.

He made his debut on the European tour in 1978 but it took Woosnam four more years until he won his first event, the Swiss Open, which he took after a play-off.

Woosnam's game went from strength to strength and he had his finest year in 1987.

He won the European Tour Order of Merit, amassing more than 400,000 with five tournament wins, including his first victory in the World Matchplay Championships at Wentworth - the first British player to do so.

He beat Nick Faldo in the quarter-finals, Seve Ballesteros in the semi-finals and old friend and rival Lyle in the final. Woosnam also won the title in 1990.

In 1989, he came closest to his first Major when he was one stroke behind winner Curtis Strange in the US Open, but in 1991 he finally joined the elite by winning a Major, The Masters at Augusta.


With one hole left to play, Woosnam was tied for the lead at 11-under-par with Tom Watson and Jose-Maria Olazabal.

Olazabal, playing one group ahead of Watson and Woosnam, bogied the par-four 72nd hole after finding sand with both his drive and second shot.

Watson drove into the trees down the right and took six shots for a double bogey, while Woosnam held his nerve to get down in two for par to pip Olazabal by one stroke

That win helped Woosnam top the World Rankings in 1991.

Sam Torrance
Ryder leader: Sam Torrance will captain the European team

The Welshman has been at the heart of the resurgence in European golf and he took part in eight successive Ryder Cups from 1983, sharing in the famous victories of 1985, 1987 and 1995.

Woosnam formed a formidable partnership with Faldo before both finally missed out in 1999. Woosnam's best year was 1993 when he won all his foursomes and fourballs, although remarkably he has never won a Ryder Cup singles match.

He is still in the running to make Sam Torrance's team for this year's trans-Atlantic tussle at The Belfry.

Ian Woosnam factfile:

Height: 5ft 5in.
DoB: 2 March 1958.
Birthplace: Oswestry.
Residence: Jersey, Channel Islands.
Family: wife: Glendryth (m.1983); children: Daniel (1985), Rebecca (1988), Amy (1991).

Major victories: Masters 1991.

Representational honours: Henessy Cognac Cup in 1982 and 1984; Four Tours World Championship in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990; World Cup of Golf in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998; Alfred Dunhill Cup in 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995; Ryder Cup in 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997.

PGA Tour wins: 1991 USF&G Classic, PGA Grand Slam.

European Tour wins: 1982 Ebel Swiss Open. 1984 Scandinavian Enterprise Open, Silk Cut Masters. 1986 Lawrence Batley International TPC. 1987 Suntory World Match Play, 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 Volvo Bonus Pool, Epson Grand Prix of Europe, Suntory World Match Play, 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. 1999 Smurfit COC Team.

Other international wins: 1985 Zambian Open. 1986 '555' Kenya Open, 1987 Hong Kong Open, 1988 Sun City Million Dollar Challenge, 1997 Hyundai Masters.

The 130th Open, at Royal Lytham

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