Ian Woosnam was born on this day in 1958. Nicknamed 'Woosie', 'Woosers', or the 'Wee Welshman', Woosnam was one of the ‘Big Five’ generation of European golfers, all born within 12 months of one another, all of whom have won Majors and made Europe competitive in the Ryder Cup. His peers in this group were Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, and Sandy Lyle.
Woosnam was born in the town of Oswestry, Shropshire, in England, and his family lived in the nearby village of St Martin's in Shropshire. He started playing at the unique Llanymynech Golf Club, which straddles the Wales-England border. He is short for a male golfer at 1.64 m, but he is a powerful hitter. He played as an amateur in regional competitions in the English county of Shropshire alongside Sandy Lyle.
Woosnam turned professional in 1976, and first played the European Tour in 1979. Woosnam spent his early years on tour driving around the continent in a camper van, living on a diet of baked beans to save money. After three modest seasons, his career took off in 1982, when he won the Swiss Open and came eighth on the order of merit. He also finished in the top 10 every year from 1983 to 1991, and again in 1993, 1996, and 1997, making it thirteen times in all. He has won 28 official money events on the European Tour and many other events around the world.
In 1991, Woosnam reached the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, eventually spending a total of 50 weeks as World Number 1. In the same year, he emulated his British rivals, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo, by winning the Masters Tournament—the first person representing Wales to ever win a Major championship.