Ian Woosnam had played in six Opens before he had played in The Masters such was the lack of invites for European players. Then we won the Ryder Cup at Muirfield Village in 1987 and the doors opened.
His first appearance was a disaster, opening up with an 81 to comfortably miss the cut, but, by 1991, the Welshman had won the Green Jacket. He would beat Jose Maria Olazabal by a shot with Tom Watson also bearing down on him and Wales would have its first major champion.
Woosnam would do it with brilliant rounds of 66-67 in the middle rounds and he would be handed the Green Jacket by his Ryder Cup partner Nick Faldo and it would mark four European victories on the spin.
He would make the next nine cuts at Augusta but never threaten again and, since 2001, he has only made one cut. There have been problems with his back, he underwent surgery in 2020, and it’s proved to be a struggle as the years have ticked on – he did call it quits in 2016 but had a change of heart – and so now he’s decided to step aside.
“Thought long and hard about playing the Masters again this year and in the future, but it’s time for me to watch the young guys play,” Woosnam wrote on Twitter. “So I’m going to sit back and enjoy the memories that Augusta has given me over the years, thank you for everything.”
His final appearance last year marked the 30th anniversary of his iconic win, he would sign off with a 76 despite pulling a groin muscle and having played just one round after his back op.
Woosnam famously drove the fairway bunkers at 18 in 1991, these days with the tee having been moved back by a considerable distance, the hole and course is very different.
“I can't even reach the bunkers, let alone clear the bunker. I used to hit the ball such a long way. I still hit the ball pretty long but these guys hit it miles these days. You have to play quality shots here. If you don't play quality shots you're not going to score.
“Usually I can be going in with an 8-iron, I'm going in with a 5-iron, now it's difficult to get it by the flag. But with being an older kind of player, you can sort of hold it up against the wind, get it up, and you have to play some quality shots, which I feel like an older player who used to play that way, and I think it's nice for me to be able to do that on this sort of course. You usually want to go to a tournament to win, but just to come here, to enjoy it, see the champions, go to the dinner, enjoy it, see the crowds again and just be part of the tournament, it's really nice.”