After years of being overlooked, Ian Woosnam has been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame
Ian Woosnam Inducted Into World Golf Hall Of Fame… Finally
In 2014, Ian Woosnam wasn’t even included on the last-16 shortlist for the World Golf Hall of Fame ballot. It was the latest in a series of snubs that had perplexed the diminutive Welshman since he called time on his top-tier professional career.
“I can’t understand why I’m not in it,” he said last year. “At the time, I felt like I had got to the stage of thinking, ‘Jesus, what am I supposed to do?’ I felt like giving up the game.”
On September 26, 2017, Woosnam was finally handed the accolade his career clearly deserved at a World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York.
But why did it take so long for him to find his way into the Hall? No one quite knows. What was seemingly inevitable looked at one stage like it would never come to pass. When you consider what he achieved, that would have been a travesty.
Woosnam turned professional in 1976 and joined the European Tour in 1979. He enjoyed modest success in his first three year, driving around in his camper van and often eating baked beans for dinner, before his first triumph at the Swiss Open in 1982. That season, he also finished 8th on the Order of Merit.
The Welshman finished in the top 10 every year from 1982 to 1991, winning it twice (1987 and 1990. He was also voted European player of the year twice). However, 1991 was undoubtedly the most significant year of his career.
After four previous Major top-ten finishes, Woosnam holed an eight-footer at Augusta National to become the first ever Welshman to win The Masters, and indeed any of golf’s Majors.
From April 21, 1991 to March 21, 1992 – a period of 50 weeks – Woosnam sat proudly atop the Official World Golf Ranking.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, he was considered to be part of a ‘big five’ group of European golfers also including Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle and Seve Ballesteros.
He represented Wales in 17 World Cups and Europe in eight Ryder Cups as a player (winning four times and helping retain the trophy in 1989). He also captained the European side to victory at the K-Club in 2006.
That year, he was also awarded an OBE from the Queen in recognition of his contributions to the game of golf.
Woosnam’s last official European Tour victory came in the 1997 Volvo PGA Championship – one of 29 European Tour triumphs. He won 16 other titles around the world during his top-tier career, and he’s added seven senior victories since turning 50.
Unsurprisingly given the above, he’s won more professional golf tournaments than any other male British golfer.
Two things will no doubt be obvious to those reading this article: 1) He unequivocally deserves a place in the Hall of Fame and 2) It’s shocking that his enshrinement took so long.
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