Welshman Ian Woosnam returns home for the first time as a Senior player fresh from his first strokeplay victory in more than ten years when he tees up at the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open this week.
It promises to be a special occasion for the Oswestry born player, who has set his sights on back-to-back victories after winning the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship, his first strokeplay title since the PGA Championship in 1997.
The 2006 Ryder Cup winning Captain, who joined the European Seniors Tour after turning 50 in March, began his playing career as an amateur in Wales before going on to enjoy a glittering career on The European Tour, famously winning The 1991 Masters Tournament at August National.
Woosnam now heads to Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club, North Wales, determined to win the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open, admitting that it would help make up for never getting his hands on the silverware at his national Open on The European Tour.
He said: “It’s always great to come home to Wales. This is my first Seniors Tour event in Britain so it promises to be a special one and I’m really looking forward to it. I was never able to win the Wales Open so I’m very much hoping I can win the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open instead.
“To win in the Parkridge Polish Seniors Open was fantastic, especially as Parkridge are my sponsors so it was nice to do it for them. Obviously it would now be special if I could win back-to-back tournaments here at Conwy.
“This is the second biggest prize fund on the Seniors Tour and I hope to support the tournament for years to come and hopefully win it a few times along the way.
“I played here about 35 years ago as an amateur and that was all part of my learning curve which helped me in my career and I’ve been very lucky with the success I’ve had over the years since.
“I hope my golf has brought some joy to people and I’ve had a great time along the way.”
Woosnam was a rival of Sandy Lyle in Shropshire county colf in the early stages of their careers and the pair will go head-to-head once again, with the Scot also joining the hugely impressive field chasing a share of the £500,000 prize fund.
Lyle, a two time Major winner himself, was one of Woosnam’s Assistant Captains at The Ryder Cup in Ireland two years ago and he is relishing the chance to play alongside the Welshman.
He said: “It will be an honour for me to play in this year’s Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open. It means a great deal to me to play in front of British fans here in the British Isles, and the chance to compete against some of my old adversaries will make the experience even more enjoyable.”
Another of Woosnam’s Assistant Captains, Des Smyth of Ireland, is also part of the impressive field, as are past Ryder Cup players José Rivero and Costantino Rocca.
It is the second consecutive year that the event has been played at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Course and the 2007 champion Carl Mason will once again be competing for the £75,000 first prize, having also won the title in 2005.