Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Woosie So Grateful for Spanish Stars

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Woosie So Grateful for Spanish Stars

Article excerpt


CAPTAIN Ian Woosnam's gamble on playing Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal together paid off handsomely on a first day of scintillating Ryder Cup golf here.

Garcia, who Europe's skipper likens to a "new Seve", and Olazabal are hardly bosom buddies despite their shared nationality.

But the dashing youngster and the more reserved veteran gelled magnificently to beat American opponents David Toms and Brett Wetterich 3&2 in their fourball game.

It was a morning of brilliant shotmaking - Paul Casey hitting a three wood to five feet for an eagle at the fourth - and appalling errors with balls ending in the water, against trees and even on top of a television tower.

Tiger Woods, the world's best golfer according to the rankings, had to be rescued by Jim Furyk in their tense clash with Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington.

Thanks to Furyk's safe driving and laser-accurate putting the American's marquee pairing clinched the first point of the day as they parred the 18th to win by one hole.

But immediately Euro hit back on the scoreboard through Garcia and Olazabal.

Garcia got the ball rolling in his game when he sunk a 22ft birdie to take the opening hole against David Toms and Brett Wetterich. An Olazabal birdie on the ninth put the Europeans two up but Wetterich, another of Lehman's rookies, rose to the challenge with a birdie at the par five 10th. It is hard to

keep Garcia down in Ryder Cups, however, and he punched the air with delight when a birdie at the 11th restored his side's two-hole advantage.

On Sunday Casey won [pounds sterling]1million in the HSBC World Match Play championship at Wentworth. Today he played suitably rich golf to help Robert Karlsson to a three-hole lead against JJ Henry and Stewart Cink.

But the Americans, a rookie and a wild card, held their nerve to rally not only to eliminate the Europeans lead and level the match with two to play.

There had always been a danger that the effort required to bank the biggest financial prize his sport has to offer might have left Casey feeling drained.

But Casey not only kept his form hot at the K Club here, he brought it to boiling point with a sensational three wood from the fairway to five feet for an eagle three at the 568 yards fourth hole.

It almost went horribly wrong for the Englishman and the Swede at the seventh.

First Casey, like Cink, pushed his approach into water. Then Karlsson sent his iron sailing high onto a broadcasting tower where it came to rest at the feet of a shocked television cameraman.

Karlsson got a drop and the same cameraman was able to show viewers a neat chip to 15ft from where the lanky golfer got down for the par that put Europe two up which became three with a Karlsson birdie at the next. …

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