Round one to Woosie

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Feisty old Woosie, all 5 ft 4 in of him, was not to be swayed by 40 mph winds which disrupted preparations and saw organisers close the course for four hours in the morning to all but essential staff.

Instead, Jersey resident Woosnam called on his team to forget the wretched weather and demonstrate the resolve which has seen them win four out of the last five matches.

They answered him to a man.

Woosnam explained: ‘I thought it was important we came out to the practice ground even if we only hit some balls and signed some autographs.

‘I gave them all the option.

I said: ‘Let’s go to the range, hit some balls, see how it is.

I’d like you to play nine holes, but if you feel like you don’t want to play, don’t play.

‘And if you do go out there and you feel like it’s too windy or too wet, come on in and do something else’.

But obviously they have all stood up to the mark and gone out and played nine holes.

I’m very pleased.’ In truth, with 40,000 spectators flooding through the gates, paying £25 for the privilege, they could hardly have done anything else.

But the way in which they went about their work was testimony to Woosnam’s captaincy.

They did so with smiles on their faces and the galleries responded.

It set a light mood ahead of tomorrow’s early start and a positive tone which was in sharp contrast to the Americans.

First Tiger Woods came in to the press tent to criticise elements of the media for an admittedly scurrilous story which linked bogus pictures of his wife Elin to a porn website.

But he was then swiftly followed by US captain Tom Lehman who felt obliged to apologise to fans for his side’s practice tactics.

The American team decided to concentrate on their short game, hitting in irons from 150 yards on the par fours and 250 yards on the par fives.

The only problem with that was that they bypassed the hundreds of fans waiting for them to drive off on the first tee.

To his credit Lehman had the guts to say sorry.

So round one to Woosnam, who might not be the most eloquent of leaders but whose pugnacious qualities are beginning to make up for his lack of Churchillian rhetoric, although he is improving on that score too.

What did he bring to the party as captain? ‘My will to win.

My excitement,’ said Woosnam.

‘I always seem to have battled all of my golfing career to prove something to someone and hopefully that will come out through the way I’ll captain my team this week.’

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