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Posted April 12, 2019 09:04 pm
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Woosnam calls it quit as a Masters competitor

  • Article Photos
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    Ian Woosnam looks at his chip that stopped right at the lip of the cup on No. 1. He announced his retirement from Masters competition after his round. [NIGEL COOK/FOR THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Another Masters Tournament champion has called it a day. This one is a former world No. 1.

A year after 1998 winner Mark O’Meara announced he was retiring from the tournament, Ian Woosnam followed suit Friday. The Welshman was the No. 1-ranked player for 50 weeks, starting in April 1991.

“This is the last one; so sad to go,” the 1991 Masters champion said after he followed his opening 80 with 76.

Woosnam, 61, also said he was retiring after the 2016 Masters, but that was before he told his wife of that decision.

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“I determined it about a couple of years and I got a telling off from my wife. She said, ‘Get out there and do it again,’” he said. “I just decided to come and play a couple more times, but it doesn’t seem to get any better any time I come back.”

Woosnam has had ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that affects the spine, since 1987.

“It’s a real struggle for me around here because every time I come to the Masters walking up these hills, side slopes and everything, it really affects me,” he said. “It’s a shame because I feel like I’m still playing pretty good, but when you’re walking all the way around here with a bad back and it just takes, it takes the energy out of you.

“But I enjoyed every single minute of it today and it’s great. ... I was happy just to play the last two days because I didn’t think I was able to get around and I managed to do it, so it was great,” he said.

There won’t be another final act at Augusta National, Woosnam said.

“No, not this time,” he sad. “Unless I can sort of come up with some new medicine or something that would really help me. ... I got to go and have a MRI soon, but I can’t see that making any difference. It’s not really changed for the last 30 years.”

Woosnam joked that he might play again “if they will give me a cart or something like that. That would be all right. But I don’t think I’ll get that. But it’s been a pleasure being here, being a champion, I look forward to coming for many more years.”

Woosnam won the 1991 Masters by a shot, making a dramatic 7-footer for birdie on No. 18 to edge Jose Maria Olazabal.

“What do I remember? I remember holing that putt on the last green. Knowing that this is my opportunity and I took that opportunity,” he said. “That was it.”

He said it wasn't his style to make his retirement announcement before the tournament.

“I’m not that sort of person to be in the limelight,” he said. “I just like to mosey on out. So that’s it.”