Height: 5 ft 4 1/2 in
Born: March 2, 1958
Birthplace: Oswestry, England
Turned Pro: 1976
Often toiling in the shadows of European contemporaries, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Seve Ballesteros, a five foot four and a half inch tall Welshman named Ian Woosnam racked up over 50 professional wins, a Major Championship, multiple Ryder Cup teams and a one year run as the top-ranked golfer in the world.
Ian Woosman was born on the Wales England border. Many people thought he was too short to be a professional golfer, but Woosnam found early success as an amateur, often playing with another future Major champion, Sandy Lyle.
Woosnam turned pro at 18, working as an assistant club professional and playing satellite tours. He joined the European Tour in 1979. Woosnam was no overnight sensation. He spent those first three years on the big tour traveling between stops and sleeping in a used van, eating canned goods at night.
Persistence paid off for Woosnam. He won his first European tour event in 1982 at the Swiss Open. He finished that year in the top ten on the European Order of Merit. He won again in 1983 and 1984.
Woosnam continued to play consistently and win throughout the 1980’s, contending for Majors including the Open Championship. In 1991, Woosnam broke though and become the first Welshman to win the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. He defeated two-time Masters Champion Jose Maria Olazabel by a single stroke.
Woosnam came close in other Majors. He tied for second at the U.S. Open in 1989. He tied for third at the Open Championship in 1986 and 2001, at the age of 43. In all, Woosnam has 10 top tens in Major Championships.
After turning 50, Woosnam has played on the Champions Tour and European Senior Tour and has collected six victories.