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Bernhard Langer turns down 2006 Ryder Cup Captaincy

Bernhard Langer has ended speculation he would consider staying on as European Ryder Cup captain for 2006.

The 47-year-old German, who led Europe to a crushing victory by 18-1/2 points to 9-1/2 over the United States at Oakland Hills last September, announced on Wednesday he intends to play his way on to the team for the next matches.

"I wish to end all speculation that I will serve a second term as captain," Langer said in a statement released by the European Tour.

"I have officially informed the European Tour tournament committee through the chairman, Jamie Spence, that I have every intention of being a playing member of the 2006 European team.

"It was a great honour to be the European team captain, and I am particularly proud of the place that the 2004 team now holds in the record books, but it is the turn of one of my colleagues to take the reins."

Langer had the full backing of his triumphant 2004 team to stay on for a second term, with Ryder Cup talisman Colin Montgomerie saying the decision should be made solely by the German.

The victorious European 12 at Oakland Hills paid tribute to Langer as the ideal captain, saying that he planned everything with typical detail and even advised players on occasion over which shot to play.

Now that he has decided to turn down the role for 2006, the captaincy is likely to be between Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle.

The European Tour tournament committee will meet in Dubai on March 1 to discuss the captain for the 2006 matches.

"It is the intention of the committee to issue an invitation following that meeting to one of our members to become the next captain," chairman Spence said.

"If this is forthcoming, then we will announce the captain at a media conference on Wednesday March 2."

Former British Open champion Tom Lehman was appointed captain of the 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup last November.

Langer, twice a U.S. Masters champion and a veteran of 10 Ryder Cups as a player, has made a steady start to the 2005 PGA Tour.

After missing the cut at last month's Sony Open in Hawaii, he tied for fifth at the Buick Invitational and shared 23rd place at last week's Bob Hope Classic.

"I have made a solid start to this year and I intend to play a full schedule," he said.

"Both my wife Vikki and I have the most wonderful memories of the (Ryder Cup) week in Detroit -- memories that will never fade -- but playing golf remains number one on my priority list."

The 2006 Ryder Cup will take place at the K Club in County Kildare, Ireland from September 22-24.


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