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Woosnam & Faldo named Ryder Cup captains

Ian Woosnam got what he wanted for his 47th birthday today – the Ryder Cup captaincy.

And in an unprecedented move, Nick Faldo was named as captain for the 2008 event in Louisville, Kentucky.

As widely predicted Woosnam, who lost out to Bernhard Langer for the 2004 match, will be in charge for Europe’s defence of the trophy at the K Club near Dublin in September next year.

The Welshman, who served as Sam Torrance’s assistant at The Belfry in 2002 and played eight times against the Americans, was preferred to former team-mates Faldo and Sandy Lyle.

“What a fantastic way to celebrate my birthday, my wife and I are absolutely delighted. The Ryder Cup has been a big part in our lives and it is a huge honour to be named captain of the European team,” said Woosnam.

“It makes me feel very proud, especially as Wales has such a great tradition of producing Ryder Cup captains.

“I have enjoyed the thrill of playing under three superb captains and I can’t tell you how much I missed not being involved last year.

“Now it is all systems go for 2006 in Ireland. I have great affinity for Irish golf and especially the Irish golf fans.”

The vote in Woosnam’s favour came at a meeting of the players’ committee in Dubai last night and was announced at a press conference this morning.

Colin Montgomerie, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez – all members of last year’s side – are on the committee, as are Langer and two of his assistants for the record-breaking 18-9 victory, Joakim Haeggman and Thomas Bjorn.

Woosnam, the 1991 Masters champion and former world number one, made his cup debut in 1983 under Tony Jacklin.

He was part of the side two years later which sent the Americans to their first defeat since 1957, won on United States soil for the first time in 1987 and then retained it again with a 14-14 tie back at The Belfry in 1989.

Woosnam then played three times under Bernard Gallacher’s leadership and made his last playing appearance under Seve Ballesteros at Valderrama in 1997.

He never won a singles game but had a superlative fourball record of 10 wins, one half and only three losses.

America’s captain is Tom Lehman, whose own cup career included the highly controversial premature celebrations in Boston in 1999 when he was among a number of players who charged onto a green before the match had been decided.

Next year’s match is the first to be staged in Ireland and one of their own, most likely Des Smyth, is expected to be named as a vice-captain to Woosnam.


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