Former Masters Champ

The Masters this year is going to be quite exciting. The reason is that a former Masters champ will be coming out of retirement to play the game he loves again on a national stage.

That former champ is known as Ian Woosnam, aka Woosie. Woosnam started his professional career in 1976. He then joined the European tour in 1979, making a name for himself playing well.

In 1982 he won the Swiss Open, taking his career to a new level. He continued to play well, placing third in the 1986 Open Championship, and then went on to win the Masters in 1991, becoming the first Welshman to win a green jacket.

From April 7th, 1991 to March 21st, 1992, Woosnam was ranked 1st in the world. He held that position for 50 weeks. Woosnam’s last European Tour victory was in 1997 at the Volvo PGA Championship.

He won his last stroke-play title in 2014 in the Dutch Senior Open. He won by 5 strokes and finished the tournament -11.

Former Masters Champ: Big 5

Woosnam is part of the “Big Five” generation of European golfers. The other four golfers include Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, and Sandy Lyle. All five golfers were born within 12 months of each other and have all one a major championship.

Woosnam first said he would retire from competing in golf in 2016. He has been battling ankylosing spondylitis, which is a condition that affects the spine. He couldn’t take the pain anymore and said he could no longer handle the impact golf had on his body.

Former Masters Champ

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 10: Ian Woosnam of Wales looks on during the Par 3 Contest prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Woosnam, at the time, said,

“ That’s my last go. I am not fit enough to play with my bad back. Every time I play this course, it just seizes on me, and I can’t swing the club properly. I am in pain all the way round, so it’s time to say bye-bye, really.”

Eventually, Woosnam was talked into coming back to golf by his wife. He played in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 tournaments. He again decided to step away from competitive golf after missing his 11th straight cut.

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In 2019 Woosnam said,

“I’m just in too much pain. And it happens every time I get here. It must be the hills because I’ve been playing and hitting a lot of balls recently with no ill-effects. But as soon as I get on this course, my back bothers me.”

Woosnam shocked the golf community. After not playing in Ryder Cup, he decided he was going to play in the 2021 Masters after receiving his invitation.

Woosnam took to social media and said,

“Got my invitation to play the 2021 Masters; I’m going for it again after saying I wouldn’t play again, but with the back operation, which has gone really well, I’m going to playing again can’t wait.”

This year at the Masters Woosnam will be 63 years old and be among the oldest players. He will be joining Fred Couples, Larry Mize, and several others. I think we are all rooting for Woosie this year, no matter the outcome.