Ian Woosnam M.B.E (1958 -)
Born Oswestry, England but considered Welsh, Woosnam is one of Europe's top golfers.
Woosnam is only 5'4" but is as tough as they come. He grew up on a farm and boxed at school. He therefore developed a strong physique and the confidence to over come his small stature. Today he can drive a ball further than most professionals.
After some success as an amateur in regional competitions such as the Shropshire and Herefordshire Amateur, he turned professional in 1976. However, it took him three attempts to quality for the tour. Even after qualifying, he only won £6,000 in his first five years. That must have been an extremely tough time for Woosnam. He travelled around Europe in a camper van competing in tournamants and had so little to show for it. But that just underlines one of Woosnam's greatest assets - determination.
The turning point in Woosnam's career came in 1982 with victory in the Swiss Open. He progressively rather than dramatically improved. When he came 3rd in the 1986 Open, he announced his impending arrival into the top echelons. In 1987, he won 8 tournaments , topped the money list on the European tour and was awarded the Vardon trophy. In fact, he was the first European to win more than US$1m in a season. In 1989, he came second in the US Open and it was surely a matter of time before he won his first Major.
In 1991, Woosnam topped the Sony World Rankings. Later that year, he won the US Masters; the first Welshman to ever win a Major. Individual success has been matched with team success. He has served on 7 Ryder Cup squads
Woosnam should neverbe under-estimated. In 1997, he kept his cool to fend off Faldo and Montgomerie to win the Volvo PGA Championship; the most prestiguous event on the PGA European Tour. He is a relaxed character which is manifested by his confident stride on the fairways. He prefers to spend time with his family back in Wales rather than living out of a suitacase, chasing a buck around the world. However, he does fly his own plane to take him to tournaments which considerably reduces his travelling time.
We can expect alot more from Woosnam and the chapter on his career is far from closed.