Ian Woosnam’s 1991 Masters win made it four in a hero for British golfers. Here, Woosie reflects on the highlight of his playing career
Woosie holing that vital 8-footer on the final green in 1991 to clinch the deal at Augusta after both fairway and green had eluded him on the 72nd hole is one of The Masters’ more enduring images for home golf fans.
Ian Woosnam’s 1991 Masters win kept an extraordinary run of home successes going following Sandy Lyle’s 1988 victory and Nick Faldo’s back-to-back play-off wins in 1989 and 1990 in a tournament that had never previously been won by a British player.
A couple of years ago, Jeremy Ellwood caught up with Woosie for an interview covering not only his career, but also that incredible final round in 1991…
The patrons weren’t exactly rooting for you on Sunday, were they?
I played the last two rounds with Tom Kite, and I was getting some stick off the crowd on the last day – ‘This is not a sea links course, this is Amen Corner.’ But people don’t realise that the more they wind me up, the better I get [laughs].
I thought they were more refined than that, The Masters patrons?
You’ve got to remember an American hadn’t won for a while, and you’re always going to get one or two who say something.
Did you intend to hit it so far left on 18?
Well, the 18th is a sharp dogleg left-to-right, and I draw the ball. I was aiming down the centre, but I knew that if I went left, I could carry the bunker, and if it went straight it went straight. So that was the plan – I hit it as hard as I could, and if I hooked it, which I usually did under a little bit of pressure, I knew it would be okay. It finished up perfect.
You couldn’t see much from down there though?
Not really. It took a long time to get the crowds out of the way, and it was difficult to get the right yardage. I still don’t know to this day if we got the right yardage. I was coming in with 7-iron – I just caught it a little heavy.
What was going through your mind when you didn’t quite get the first putt as close as you would have liked?
It was a funny first putt – it was on the fringe and the grain usually takes it to the left. But it just popped over the fringe so it didn’t move left to start with and then obviously after that it was going to go left to right. It went six or seven feet to the right so I was a bit disappointed but I wasn’t that disappointed. I knew that when Watson missed his putt I had this putt for the win, and if I missed it I was going to be in a play-off. So that took the pressure off a bit. You find ways in your own head to take the pressure off and take the stress away, and that’s how I took the stress away.
What did you say when Wobbly your caddie picked you up and started flinging you around?
‘Put me down, you stupid bugger!’ I’d already hurt my arm from punching the air, and he grabbed me and nearly broke my ribs!