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Ryder Cup decision expected soon

Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo may be picked this week as Europe's Ryder Cup captains: the Welshman for 2006 and the Englishman for 2008.

The European Tour's tournament committee could make the unprecedented double appointment on Wednesday in Dubai on the eve of the Desert Classic.

"I'd be happy to do it in 2008," Faldo said at last week's World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in California. "If that's the way they want it, then OK. If they are going to name two of us, then that's OK, too."

Selecting both would be a compromise to avoid ignoring Faldo. The 47-year-old Englishman is the most successful British golfer of his generation with victories in six majors and 11 appearances in the Ryder Cup.

Woosnam, who turns 47 on Wednesday, is the 1991 Masters champion and an eight-time Ryder player. He was an assistant to Sam Torrance on the 2002 European team and is widely favored to lead the team for 2006.

The 14-member committee includes Bernhard Langer, who led Europe to a record 18½-9½ victory over the United States last year at Oakland Hills near Detroit. Langer stepped away from the job, hoping to qualify as a player for 2006.

"There are other guys waiting, mainly Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo," Langer said. "I think those would be the favorites right now."

The tournament committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday night in Dubai. European Tour spokesman Gordon Simpson said it was "90 percent certain" they would reach an agreement and announce a decision Wednesday.

If he is named for 2006, Woosnam would lead Europe in the Sept. 22-24 matches at the K Club in Dublin, Ireland. Tom Lehman will captain the American team.

Faldo would captain in 2008 at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. Paul Azinger is a top candidate to lead the Americans that year. Faldo and Azinger are working together this season as golf commentators for ABC.

Scotsman Sandy Lyle, 47, and Spanish golfer Jose Maria Olazabal, 39, have also expressed interest but are considered outsiders.

Woosnam has long been a crowd favorite for his small stature and powerful game. He won his first European tournament in 1982 and his last in 2001 when he upset Padraig Harrington to win the 2001 HSBC World Match Play title at Wentworth near London.

Faldo, more reserved than Woosnam, is a three-time winner of both the Masters and British Open and has played 11 times in the Ryder Cup. He holds the record as Europe's top point scorer in Ryder play with 25 points.


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