Ian Woosnam will get his hands on some silverware before he even tees off in the first round of the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters at Woburn Golf Club, giving the former Ryder Cup Captain a welcome boost as he looks to regain pole position on the Order of Merit.
Woosnam’s outstanding achievements throughout the 2008 season will be recognised at an awards dinner on the eve of the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters where he will be presented with the John Jacobs Trophy as the leading money winner and the Rookie of the Year Award at a ceremony in the Sculpture Room at Woburn Abbey.
The clean sweep of accolades will no doubt serve as a timely shot in the arm for Woosnam as he looks to overhaul Ireland’s Mark McNulty at the top of the current Order of Merit. A top ten finish at Woburn would be enough to overcome the €6,818 difference between the top two and could move Woosnam back to Number One.
He said: “It would mean a lot to me to win the Order of Merit again. I cherish my John Jacobs Trophy for topping the Order of Merit last season and to do what both Carl Mason and Sam Torrance have done and win it back to back would be a very significant feat.”
In his first season among the senior ranks, Woosnam won twice in his 13 starts, won €320,120 (£249,742) in prize money, and secured seven top tens in total on his way to becoming the first player to win Number One honours on both the European Tour and Senior Tour. And he has every intention of repeating the feat this season.
With one title under his belt so far this year and a string of high finishes, Woosnam has laid the foundations for another tilt at the Order of Merit title. And he knows how to win over the Duke’s Course The at Woburn having captured the British Masters 15 years ago with a four-stroke victory over Seve Ballesteros. Only three players, however, have won both on both The European Tour and the Senior Tour over the same course.
“It would be good match my British Masters win over the Duke’s Course in 1994 with victory here his week,” he added. “I love the golf course, it’s one of my favourites – and a win would certainly do my Order of Merit chances the world of good.”
He will tee-off in the first round at 9.30am on Friday in the company of defending champion Gordon J Brand and Glenn Ralph, winner of the Cleveland Golf / Srixon Scottish Senior Open on the last outing for the European Senior Tour two weeks ago, while another former Ryder Cup Captain, Sam Torrance, battling Woosnam at the top of the Order of Merit, tees off at 9.50am.
Brand returns as defending champion hoping to recapture the form that saw him win back-to-back tournaments 12 months ago. After recording his best European Senior Tour season to date last year, finishing second behind Woosnam in the Order of Merit, the Englishman has yet to scale the heights of his 2008 campaign so far this term.
The 54 year old former Ryder Cup player is currently 23rd on the money list, with his best finish so far this season being tied sixth in the Irish Seniors Open in association with Fáilte Ireland and AIB Bank. But he is hoping that memories of his two stroke victory over Spaniard Juan Quiros over the Duke’s Course last year can inspire him once again.
Tickets for the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters at Woburn Golf Club are available on the gate with daily tickets available for £10 and season tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday available for £20. Entry is free for Under 16s if accompanied by an adult.