For only the second time in 25 years, Ian Woosnam will not be at The Open, but as the incumbent European Ryder Cup captain the Welshman will still be in the news. And the revelation that he is going to employ revolutionary techniques in forming his pairings will be raising eyebrows as the field gather.
"I'm going to be texting the players," said the 48-year-old. "I'll ask them, 'Can you text me the three players you'll prefer to play with, and why?' I care about their opinions and want the truth. I'll take players' advice on board and be very much a players' captain. But everybody should be prepared to play with anybody and if they don't, that will create a rift straight away."
Former captains such as Tony Jacklin have advocated the need for a successful leader to be his own man and essentially to keep his own counsel. Woosnam obviously does not agree, favouring a controlled brand of "player power". "I'll talk to them all individually; what sort of strategy, anything you'd like in regard to changing the course, and once the team is sorted it'd be nice to have their input," he said. "If everyone mingles and discusses tactics we'd feel more of a team."
Although Woosnam will be at home in Jersey he will be watching on television, as he believes "you can see more from your front room". He will not be too worried who wins, but more how his squad perform. "A European not winning a major this year doesn't matter at all to September's match," he maintained. "But it is important for my boys to be in form. At the US Open we were hot and the Americans weren't. We need to keep that going."
Not that Woosnam expects as demanding a test as Winged Foot. Anything but, in fact. "Hoylake needs a bit of wind because without it it'd be pretty easy and the big hitters would eat the course for breakfast," he said. "I played there a month or so ago and the fairways might be small, but without wind they're not that difficult to hit and as the ball bounces so far, there could be some very low scores."Reuse content