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March 30, 2005

Ian Woosnam


JOHN BUSH: Ian, welcome to the BellSouth Classic, your first appearance of the year on the PGA TOUR, and obviously your first since being named Ryder Cup Captain for the European Team. Just comment a little bit about your game right now.

IAN WOOSNAM: Oh, what game? Yeah, I played three weeks in Dubai, Qatar and in China. I made two cuts and missed the cut in China. So the game is not very strong at the moment, but trying to make a few swing changes because of my back a little bit, and hopefully, you know, I'm looking this week just to make the cut and I'll be happy with that really.

Q. How do you balance Ryder Cup thoughts and thoughts as a player? Are you starting now to gear up in terms of thinking ahead to the challenge that Europe has?

IAN WOOSNAM: It's always in the back of your mind at the time; obviously in Dubai when it was announced, that week was pretty hectic. There's been quite a few media requests over the last few weeks.

It isn't really going to start until we start collecting points and that will be in September. I guess things will get more hectic. I guess, also, I'm thinking about how things are going to run, how the golf course is going to be prepared and things like that, and speeches, as well. I just try to take it a little bit at a time, really.

Q. How much will you play?

IAN WOOSNAM: I'm going to play not as much as I used to, somewhere in the region of 20,22 tournaments this year. I think that's enough with the traveling I do. As I say, the back has got to hold up and just see how we go, really.

Q. How special is it every year to return to Augusta National and go to that golf course and play in that event as a former champion, as well?

IAN WOOSNAM: Every year I look forward to this time. That's why I play this week to try and get myself into a bit of better shape, going into Augusta. It's a place I absolutely love and adore, and I always look forward to going back there and just hopefully -- I've missed the cut the last couple of years, it would be nice to make the cut and hopefully challenge some way or other.

Q. Can you talk about for the players what it's like to win that green jacket?

IAN WOOSNAM: It's the first major of the year and all of the young guys, they have watched it on the TV, especially better now that every hole is pretty well covered and it's just a fantastic feeling just to be walking through them gates, really.

Q. Have you talked to prospective vice captains yet?

IAN WOOSNAM: Not yet. I haven't done that yet. I will be doing that in the next few weeks.

After I finish these two weeks and I get home, I haven't been home really for longer than a week, and once I get there and sit down in the office and make some telephone calls, I'll be doing it then.

I'm not telling you who it is, either. (Laughter.)

Q. Weather has been such an issue this year, whether it's on the West Coast of the United States or last week in Florida, can you explain to a novice how frustrating it is as a player to have to wait out those delays? Weather may, in fact, be an issue this week in this tournament. What is it like to have to deal with conditions that are out of your hands?

IAN WOOSNAM: It's very difficult. Just sitting around, you tend to get very stiff sitting around just waiting. You get bored. It's hard to keep your concentration going.

I remember a time I think in 1992 in the Masters, I think we had a rain delay and myself and Craig Parry were leading at the time and I came out and started out double-bogey, double-bogey. So it affects players in different ways. Some people can cope with it better and other players can't, really.

Q. Just the mindset and keeping yourself focused?

IAN WOOSNAM: I think you've got to be set in your mind you're going to have delays and be prepared for it and just hopefully you come out and play well.

Q. Not everybody from the Ryder Cup Team and Presidents Cup for that matter, as well, gets into the four majors, there's some discussion obviously with Monty sitting out next week?

IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, very, very difficult really. I think we've seen that situation with Jiménez, I think it was, last year. He played absolutely fantastic golf, I think he won four tournaments and managed to get into the Ryder Cup easily. I think the cream will come to the top. I'm sure if Monty, he's only just missed out, but I think he'll be back in that Top-50 and hopefully he'll be back in the other three majors.

Q. (Inaudible.)

IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, that just shows how much he's dedicated to try to get back in there. He wants to get back to the Top-50 and even higher than that so he can give himself the best chance of getting in the Ryder Cup, and I'm sure he doesn't want to be relying on a wild-card pick. You know, myself personally, I hope he wins a tournament soon.

Q. So it's still in his own hands to get himself into that event?

IAN WOOSNAM: It's in his own hands, and Colin is playing super golf at the moment, and as I say, the cream will come to the top.

Q. Do you think he deserved a Masters exemption for the way he's played?

IAN WOOSNAM: He's been one of great golfers over the last 15 years and it is a shame, but, you know, someone's got to have it. It's a pity he has not got it, really. I think he's played good enough to deserve a card, really, an invitation.

Q. What do you say to the Europeans that are trying to win their first major?

IAN WOOSNAM: Well, it's playing the Masters, it has changed a little bit now. It depends on out well you drive the ball, where before a few years ago you could basically hit it a little bit off-line and get away with. It now they have added a little bit of semi-rough you've got to get it in the fairway. It's a golf course who is going to do well is a person who is very good with their irons and who can position their ball on the greens well.

Again, you've got to be very patient, and to the young guys just try and get as many practice rounds as you possibly can and do a lot of practice putting because that's what it comes down in the end.

Q. What's it like on playing this Tour now with the bombing ability that is so dominant? It's a little tough to survive out here, isn't it?

IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, just reading the paper there, you see Fred Funk won last week and it just shows up, if they set the golf course up right, the shorter hitters can still win. I think if you take the statistics of the guys who have been winning out there, they have been hitting the ball miles, but also been hitting it in the rough and they are up in the 150s, 140s and they are the guys that are winning the tournament. It's a shame that the game has gone that way, really.

Q. (Inaudible.)

IAN WOOSNAM: Well, I'm hitting it short and crooked, so what chance have you got? I've got to look at it a little bit more the way Fred Funk is, try not to hit it so far like I used to but go for more accuracy, and that's what I'm going to do this week.

JOHN BUSH: Thanks, Ian, for coming by. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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