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Ian Woosnam sets sights on historic Ryder Cup win

Britain's Ian Woosnam has set his sights on guiding Europe to a record third consecutive Ryder Cup triumph over the United States after being named team captain for the 2006 match in Ireland.

Sam Torrance captained the 2002 side to victory by 15-1/2 points to 12-1/2 at The Belfry in England while Bernhard Langer led the Europeans to a record-equalling success by 18-1/2 points to 9-1/2 at Oakland Hills last September.

"I would like to create a little history," Welshman Woosnam told a news conference at the Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday.

"Europe has held the Ryder Cup three successive times, because we tied in 1989 after winning in 1985 and 1987, but we have never won three successive matches.

"I need to follow on from Sam and Bernhard's fantastic achievements in 2002 and 2004."

Woosnam, who was vice-captain at The Belfry in 2002, conceded it would be tough to follow in the footsteps of Torrance and Langer.

"I learned such a lot from working with and alongside Sam when we won at The Belfry that I know it will stand me in good stead," he said.

"I also know it is going to be a tremendously hard job to follow straight after Bernhard, our winning captain from last year."

The former world number one, who played in eight Ryder Cups from 1983 to 1997, added he had no thoughts of trying to qualify as a player for the 2006 team.

"I've made the commitment to captain the 2006 European team, not to play in it, and I'll be focusing on getting everything right in the lead-up to Ireland," he said.

"This is such an honour and it needs full attention."

Woosnam, who appeared on four triumphant Ryder Cup teams, plans to follow the lead set in 2002 by Torrance and American captain Curtis Strange for the biennial competition to be played in a spirit of sportsmanship.

Some previous matches, especially the infamous "War on the Shore" at Kiawah Island in 1991 and the 1999 clash at Brookline, were turbulent affairs that featured gamesmanship and ill-feeling.

"Let's not forget that, from a European viewpoint, Sam and Bernhard, in winning, also ensured that the true traditions of the game were upheld and that fair play and good sportsmanship were top of the agenda," said Woosnam.

"My stance is that it should be no different at the K Club and I know captain Tom Lehman and his American team will, like ourselves, look forward to a close, exciting and sporting contest."

The 36th Ryder Cup will be played at the K Club in County Kildare, Ireland from September 22 to 24, 2006.

 

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