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Des Smyth likely to be Ryder Cup assistant

Ireland's Des Smyth is heavily fancied to be named on Wednesday as deputy to European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam for next year's match against the United States.

Briton Woosnam is expected to make the announcement during a joint news conference with his American counterpart Tom Lehman at the K Club in County Kildare, Ireland, venue for the 2006 showdown.

When Welshman Woosnam was appointed skipper in March, he promised he would name his vice-captain at the K Club before this week's European Open and that his choice would be an Irishman.

The 52-year-old Smyth has long been the favourite, with Christy O'Connor junior and Eamonn Darcy the other contenders.

Smyth appeared on two Ryder Cup teams and became the oldest winner on the European Tour when he clinched the 2001 Madeira Island Open aged 48 years and 34 days.

He was a member of the Irish team that won the Alfred Dunhill Cup in 1988.

Smyth now plays on the seniors Champions Tour in the U.S. where he won his first title at the SBC Classic in March.

Woosnam's joint news conference with Lehman is scheduled to start at 1500 local (1400 GMT).

The 36th Ryder Cup will be played from September 22-24, 2006.


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