Woosnam's spectacular journey to hall of fame
WHEN asked by a member at his first ever golf course what he was going to do, a young Ian Woosnam replied he was going to travel the world, be world number one and become a millionaire.
He did all three things and more and now sitting in the clubhouse at La Moye Golf Course, the 61-year-old former Masters champion and Ryder Cup-winning captain – who moved to Jersey 26 years ago – reflects on an illustrious career.
Woosnam came from humble beginnings, helping on a farm with his father in the village of St Martin’s in Shropshire.
After rising at Llanymynech Golf Club on the Wales-England border, Woosnam’s journey to the Golf Hall of Fame began – but he always remembers where he came from.
He said: ‘I didn’t want to work on the farm, I don’t know what I would have done if I wasn’t a golfer, maybe a carpenter or something.
‘I remember a member coming up to me at Llanymynech and saying “what are you going to do young Woosnam”.’
‘I said I was going to be world number one, travel the world, become a millionaire and have a nice family, to which he replied that I’d have to grow a bit, and I did, about four inches!
‘My dad got a camper van and we went off around Europe, I was a professional at this point going from country to country.
‘It was a great experience. I was eating baked beans in the back of a camper van and then a few years later I was travelling in a private jet, which was a little bit different.’
It wasn’t long before ‘Wee Woosie’, was making a name for himself.
It all led to the 1991 Masters win where he putted on the last hole at Augusta to secure a coveted green jacket.
In total he went on to record 52 professional tour wins and has played in every Masters tournament since, as previous winners are allowed to do.
However, 2019 was his last competitive appearance in Georgia, with back problems currently hampering the Welshman’s season.
He said: ‘Last year was my last, I’ll go back for the dinners and things, but it is difficult, a lot of the holes are uphill.
‘Currently I’m not playing due to my back. I’ve previously been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis but this is different.
‘I’ve seen the specialist but I’m hoping to continue to play on the seniors and the champions tour, and play a handful of events every year.’
One of the highlights in Woosnam’s career was the 2006 Ryder Cup, where he captained Europe to a record breaking victory over the USA at the K Club.
Points during the singles evaded the former world number one in his playing career, but that wasn’t the case as the captain.
Recalling the 2006 win, which came on the back of the death of Irishman Darren Clarke’s wife, Woosnam explained: ‘It was a stressful time as captain, you are under pressure on who to pick.
‘Lee Westwood was a close pick but he went on to get four and a half points.
‘We picked Darren and he played well, it was very emotional after the passing of his wife and with it being in Ireland.
‘It was a proud moment in my career.’
Woosnam’s time is spent between Jersey and Barbados these days, as well as travelling all over the world to play in competitions.
Designing golf courses is the other job that keeps him busy along with being booked to attend and play in corporate golf days.
And he still continues to play as often as possible at La Moye, somewhere he has compared to the best courses in the world in the summer.
He added: ‘I do a lot of corporate stuff, going to golf days and holfing Q&As, and then I have a company called RAW and we design golf courses.
‘I’ve got a few with my name on them in England, a few in China, Bulgaria and one in Holland.
‘I try to still play with locals at La Moye when I can, we used to have a society up there called the round belly society.
‘It is such a lovely course, when the sun is out and you’ve got that view in the summer it is as good as Pebble Beach!’
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