Woosie: My Autobiography

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9780007144426: Woosie: My Autobiography

One of the most powerful and popular players of his generation, Ian Woosnam is a golfing legend. His is a fascinating life story – from the struggle to earn a living in a hard-working mining community, through the highs and lows of the amateur and professional game, to becoming a household name.

The Welsh Wizard had to wait until 1987 to establish himself as one of the best golfers in the game. That year, he won eight tournaments worldwide, amassing £1.8 million in prize money, and he teamed up with Nick Faldo to play a crucial role in Europe's retention of the Ryder Cup.

Four years later, and Woosnam had achieved his lifelong ambition, with his victory in the US Masters at Augusta. Life was good for the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world.

But it wasn't always like this. Woosnam describes the harsh realities of the lean years when he struggled to make an impression, how he battled the demons inside him, and re-emerged a stronger character in 2001 with his crowd-pleasing triumph in the World Matchplay Championship.

That same year, he had come within a whisker of winning The Open but for a mistake by his caddy. He writes candidly about that unforgettable day and how he struggled to come to terms with his misfortune.

Woosnam has strong opinions on how to keep the game ‘honest’ and the threat posed by modern technology and the regulation of the professional game. And on a lighter note, he revisits the wealth of characters he has come across both inside and outside the game: from Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo to Ian Botham and Dennis Taylor.

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Review:

The shortest man ever to win a Major? Certainly, as Ian Woosnam recounts in his entertaining autobiography Woosie, his lack of inches (he's claiming 5ft 4) has been as much a feature of his golf career as anything else--but it only adds to the achievement of a dairy farmer's son from the Welsh borders battling his way to be the best in the world. And Woosnam, who wrote the book in company with veteran sports "ghost" Edward Griffiths, certainly had to battle. This is no tale of hot-housing precocious sporting talent a la Tiger Woods. From hours spent practising in the cow shed, ducking and diving among the junior leagues committee men, to living in a caravan as an assistant greenkeeper, hustling the members to supplement a subsistence wage, Woosie had to scrap for a life in golf.

And when he finally joined the European Tour, any thoughts of having made it were dispelled by five long years following the big boys in his shared rickety old camper van, living off beer and versions of beans on toast, failing to qualify or missing cut after cut. But when success did come it came in abundance. From playing key roles in Europe's Ryder Cup resurgence in the 1980s and 90s, the Masters victory in 1991, and capturing the coveted World No. 1 spot, to the Indian summer of the last few years, when as a veteran in golf terms, Woosie has challenged again for top honours.

It's a fairytale, given a plain-speaking recount that can leave some of the on-course highlights feeling a little flat, but balances that with some forthright recollections of the reality behind the scorecards--good and bad times with his longstanding friend and caddie Wobbly; the problems of drifting in and out of form; how a New Year's Eve party trick helped him reinvent his swing; the gallery of greats from Ballesteros to Woods with whom he has competed; and, of course, that problem with an extra club that arguably robbed him of a sensational Open victory in 2001. Satisfying stuff.--Alex Hankin

Review:

‘Satisfying stuff’ Amazon.co.uk

‘Well written … with a candid humour’ The Herald

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Woosnam, Ian
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