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HALL OF FAME AT LAST Finally, Ian Woosnam has been called into the golfing Hall of Fame. The former world number one, wearer of the Masters Green Jacket and Ryder Cupwinning captain has been given a place in the pantheon of the sport’s greats. Three years ago, the battling Welshman was furious enough to be left out of the list that in anger he threatened to quit the game altogether. After not even being included on the 16-strong shortlist in 2014, Woosnam made no secret of his disappointment, writing on Twitter: ‘After seeing the results of the World Golf Hall of Fame, I think it’s time to say goodbye to golf and retire.’ But all was forgiven when, before the induction ceremony in New York, he said: ‘I’m very excited and very emotional the closer we get. Top 50 ‘To be inducted into the Hall of Fame with the greatest players ever, it’s a big thing.’ Woosnam, 59, universally known as Woosie, climbed to the top of the rankings in the week he won the Masters in 1991 and remained there for 50 weeks. He represented Europe in eight consecutive Ryder Cups and captained the side to a record nine-point victory at the K Club in 2006. Lee Westwood, who played alongside Woosnam in the 1997 Ryder Cup and was captained by him in 2006, told PA Sport: ‘It’s fantastic for Ian. When I started playing in 1987 he was dominant in world golf. Pretty much won everything. He was one of the people you wanted to go out and watch. ‘I remember he hit the first shot I ever saw in a Ryder Cup. I went to The Belfry (in 1989) and we walked across the first fairway and came to the fifth green. ‘He must have been going in with a five or six iron, it started out right and drew in to three feet. I thought ‘I’m not going to turn professional yet’. He was just so impressive to watch. ‘A former Masters champion, former world number one, Ryder Cup player and a great Ryder Cup captain. He’s done pretty much everything there is to do in the game and I’m delighted he’s being inducted.’

Overlooked earlier, Woosie the Welsh pocket rocket joins the roll call of golfing superstars

Successful skipper with the 2006 Ryder Cup

The little Master’s 1991 magic: ‘It’s just that moment and you’re in that time, and I think this is what it’s all about, trying to hole that putt. I would say that’s my best performance and my best shot.’

Woosie joined Henry Longhurst, Davis Love III, Meg Mallon and Lorena Ochoa Reyes in the 2017 class of inductees. He was introduced by nine-time Major Champion Gary Player. Woosnam said: ‘Gary was one of my heroes and I thought he would be one of the perfect guys to speak for me. ‘He’s my sort of height and he’s tenacious; he’s just a really good friend and I thought he would be perfect for me.’ Woosnam won 29 European Tour titles in a career spanning nearly 30 years before joining the European Senior Tour in 2008, when he went on to win the John Jacobs Trophy for topping the Order of Merit in his first season, yet his crowning achievement came in 1991. Just a week after becoming World Number One, Woosnam was paired with Sir Nick Faldo, the man he pushed off the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first round of the Masters Tournament. Both carded rounds of 71, five shots behind the leaders. He moved just behind Tom Watson after 36 holes, and then took a one-stroke lead into the final day at Augusta National.

Spain’s José María Olazábal staked a claim for the Green Jacket and was level with Woosnam as he stepped onto the 18th tee, but a bogey saw him fall a shot behind both the Welshman and Tom Watson. Watson, a two-time winner of the Masters, missed a 20-foot putt which may have forced a sudden-death play-off as Woosnam had a seven-footer to win. As Olazábal watched on, his chance of victory out of his hands, Woosnam stepped up and holed the most important putt of his life, becoming the first Welsh Major Champion. ‘For me, the putt on the 18th green at the Masters stands out the most,’ he said. ‘It’s not about hitting all the shots. I had a seven-foot putt, and I can remember the times I used to be on the putting green on my local golf course and think ‘this is for the Masters, this is for the U.S. Open, this for The Open’. ‘It’s just that moment and you’re in that time, and I think this is what it’s all about, trying to hole that putt. I would say that’s my best performance and my best shot.’

Receiving the Masters Green Jacket from Nick Faldo

’With the greatest players ever’: Hall of Fame pride

Tiger: I’ll be my own swing coach, thank you

Chris Como and Woods: split after three years together

4 TEE TIMES | February 2018

Tiger Woods has split with swing coach Chris Como after three years together. The 14-time Major winner, who has been struggling with back injuries, said he will work alone this year.

Woods returned from his latest injury setback in December with four rounds at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, his first tournament since withdrawing from competition with back spasms.

‘Since my fusion surgery I’ve been working hard to relearn my own body and golf swing,’ said the 41-year-old. For now, it’s best for me to continue to do this on my own. I’m grateful to Chris Como for his past work, and I have nothing but respect for him.’

In a statement to the Golf Channel, Como said: ‘Tiger is ready to have an incredible next run in his career. I’m eager to watch what will be one of the most exciting sports comebacks of all time. I will continue to be a close friend and resource to him.’

Tee Times Golf Magazine, February 2018  
Tee Times Golf Magazine, February 2018