Ian Woosnam has broken his silence and reacted to the criticism of him by Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn by claiming that his European Ryder Cup squad will be energised by the harsh comments levelled at him on Sunday evening.
An angry Bjorn, who was overlooked by skipper Woosnam (pictured) for a wildcard spot on the European team in favour of Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke, branded Woosnam’s captaincy “pathetic” and said that he had “totally lost any respect” for Woosnam after he finished above both Clarke and Westwood in the Official Golf World Rankings and the European Ryder Cup points list.
Bjorn has been heavily fined by the European Tour for the outburst and has since apologised, but Woosnam seems eager to use the inflammatory remarks as motivation for his troops when they go into battle against the USA at the K Club in two weeks time.
“I think Thomas’ comments will make us stronger,” he predicted on Thursday.
“It will certainly make Lee and Darren more determined to do well and justify their selection. My team are all professionals and once we get to the Ryder Cup these things will be put to bed. It’s a pity Thomas said what he did but he’s apologised and the next thing we’ve got to do is go to Ireland and win. I don’t think I have to justify my position to anyone. I’m the captain and I have done my job.”
The Welshman has also expressed his surprise that Europe’s winning captain from the 2004 Ryder Cup, Bernhard Langer, has admitted to giving US skipper Tom Lehman some advice ahead of the match later this month. Lehman and Langer have been close friends for a long time, but Woosnam hinted that he was disappointed that Langer had offered the US team help.
“It seems strange to me that Tom Lehman has asked Bernhard Langer for advice and that he has complied,” he said.
“I’ve been a vice-captain and so I know how the thing works, but I’ve also asked two former captains for some input – not from the other side though.”
Langer responded by expressing his surprise that Woosnam himself had not asked him for any advice. He admitted that he had spoken to Lehman but “had held a little back”.