Woosnam backs flops to thrive in Ryder Cup

If he was searching for a positive slant, then Ian Woosnam may as well have climbed up to his Jersey roof and rolled off it yesterday. But the Welshman would not be the pocket rocket of fiery resistance he is if he did not rise to his boys' defence after one of the most belittling Open days in the European team's history.

Five in the top 20 does not sound too bad until the identity of these high finishers is ascertained. From them, only Sergio Garcia is likely to make the K Club in September, and even his fifth-placed capitulation to Tiger Woods on Hoylake's front nine hardly sends the confidence soaring. But still the Americans remain the underdogs.

Quite rightly, too, says Woosnam. "If we don't win a major this year it is not important," he said. "The K Club in September will not be anything like Hoylake in July. The courses are totally different and so will the test of golf be. Saying that, it is important for my players to be in form for the match and we have been. At the US Open we were on form and the Americans weren't."

Indeed, at Winged Foot, the Europeans outscored their American rivals in the top-20 head count 8-6 and it may be surprising to some such as Peter Alliss - who labelled the home performance as "atrocious" - that at Hoylake it was 5-5. That is conveniently forgetting, of course, that Tom Lehman's side had three players in the top four.

One of them was, so deservedly, Chris DiMarco and this spelt even more bad news for Europe. Due to the complex American qualification procedure, the gritty New Yorker's runner-up finish saw him perform a massive leap up the standings to sixth, virtually ensuring his inclusion in the Co Kildare tear-up. And Lehman is mighty glad of it.

"What DiMarco brings to the team is invaluable," said the captain about the 37-year-old often referred to as the "soul" of the US team. "Every side needs a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Chris DiMarco has always brought a huge amount of enthusiasm and a lot of emotion. He's a fun guy to be around and he's very passionate about the things he loves." DiMarco is also a good loser as he proved with a quip when Woods was being interviewed at greenside on Sunday night. "Hey Tiger," he said. "When you going to give me a chance? I mean, come on."

In truth, DiMarco has had three chances to win in the last eight majors, but has lost two play-offs and now has a hat-trick of seconds to his name. He could quite reasonably claim to have ousted Colin Montgomerie as at least the current form choice of "the best player never to have won a major".

DiMarco remains unfazed by his latest close call, having just enjoyed the experience. "Tiger said one of the greatest things ever a few years ago, that being in contention in a major is like a drug," he said. "And it is. It is our drug. It's so awesome to be playing well and performing well when everything is on the line."

That last statement should make Garcia blanch. But, interestingly, the 26-year-old, who is heading for the Deutsche Bank Championship in Hamburg this week along with the majority of Woosnam's potential heroes, is philosophical. "That's the way it goes in golf," said the Spaniard, who can boast five top-10 placings in his last six Opens. "With a bit of luck it could have been so different."

It is hard to imagine Woods saying something even remotely similar.

How they match up: The current top 10s in Europe and the US, showing Open finish and world rank

* EUROPE

1 David Howell (Eng) Missed cut 11

2 Colin Montgomerie (Sco) Missed cut 15

3 Jose Maria Olazabal (Sp) 56th 16

4 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 48th 17

5 Luke Donald (Eng) 35th 10

6 Sergio Garcia (Sp) 5th 9

7 Paul Casey (Eng) 71st 31

8 Carl Pettersson (Swe) 8th 23

9 Padraig Harrington (Irl) Missed cut 19

10 Paul Broadhurst (Eng) 26th 47

Ian Woosnam's European team will comprise the top five players from the European points list, the top five from the Ryder Cup world points list, plus two captain's picks.

* UNITED STATES

1 Tiger Woods 1 st 1

2 Phil Mickelson 22nd 2

3 Jim Furyk 4th 4

4 Chad Campbell 65th 20

5 David Toms Did not play 12

6 Chris DiMarco 2nd 13

7 J J Henry Missed cut 69

8 Zach Johnson Missed cut 36

9 Brett Wetterich Missed cut 54

10 Vaughn Taylor 66th 61

Tom Lehman's American team will comprise the top 10 players from the USPGA Tour points list, plus two captain's picks.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
people
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
Arts and Entertainment
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
tv'Friends' cafe will be complete with Gunther and orange couch
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone