Golf: Woosnam's Ryder desire

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The Independent Online
THE pass the parcel game, otherwise known as who wants to be Europe's next Ryder Cup captain, could end with Ian Woosnam.

The 40-year-old Welshman yesterday became the first to declare his interest in leading the team to face the Americans in Boston next year. "I'd take the job any time from now to the future," Woosnam said yesterday.

It also emerged that any appointment will be on a one-off basis, so ending the practice of long-term campaigns by Tony Jacklin and Bernard Gallacher. The Ryder Cup Committee feels there are a number of experienced players who can handle the captaincy and that the honour should be passed around.

The only problem has been getting anyone to commit to captaining the side at the expense of playing in the match. No one has emerged to undertake the hard act of following Seve Ballesteros, who resigned the post after his triumph in Spain last year.

The appointment has already been delayed for an unusually long period of time, but the committee have said a captain will be named before the qualifying starts in September.

Sam Torrance and Mark James, neither of whom played at Valderrama, are perceived as the front-runners, but both have said they would like to try to make the team first.

Not so Woosnam, who has played on eight Ryder Cup teams and sets out on the defence of his Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth tomorrow. "If I was asked to captain the team next year, I would do it," he said.

"Even if I qualified for the team, I'd want to be the captain. You can't play and captain these days. Ideally, though, if the cup ever went to Wales, it would be nice to be the captain then."

Celtic Manor, near Chepstow, could be a contender to stage the match, but not before 2009 at the earliest.