Shortly after his victory in a two-hole sudden-death playoff in the USF&G Classic, Ian Woosnam was asked to name the best player in the world.
"Right now," the tough little Welshman said, "I think I am."If he isn't, he at least took a big step in that direction Sunday.
His triumph over Jim Hallet was his first on the American PGA Tour and filled in one of the few blank spots on a superlative world-wide record.
"To be the best in the world," Woosnam observed, "they say you have to win in America."
Now he's done that.
"To be the best in the world, they say you have to win in the majors," he said, referring to the Masters, U.S. and British Opens and the PGA.
The first of those, the Masters, is the real reason he's playing in this country now.
After making a successful defense of his title in a French tournament three weeks ago, Woosnam came to the United States to hone his game for the April gathering in Augusta, Ga.
His only other appearances in this country this year, he said, will be in the U.S. Open and the PGA. "I'd rather play in Europe. I'm more comfortable there," he said.
If popularity is a factor, however, the man called "L'il Woosie," could be changing his mind.
He became an immediate favorite with the fans at the English Turn Golf and Country Club, who chanted "Woo, Woo, Woo" on his march up the fairways.
He's also one of the world's most accomplished players. His winning, two-putt par on the second playoff hole provided Woosnam with his 24th world-wide victory.
Woosnam had completed a final-round 67 for a 13-under-par 275 total and was standing by the 18th green when Hallet came to the last hole needing a birdie to tie.
Hallett, who had blown a three-stroke lead over the first six holes, then rallied with four consecutive birdies, forced the playoff with a spectacular 4-iron shot that set up a 4-foot birdie putt. His last-round 70 included two bogeys, a double bogey and six birdies.
Both parred the first playoff hole. On the next, a par-3, Hallet bunkered his tee shot, scarred the hole with his sand shot, then missed a 6-foot putt to save par.
It was Woosnam's second gift of the day. The other was from Tom Sieckmann, who needed only a last-hole par to tie. He hooked his approach into the water, however, made double bogey and finished third alone at 277. John Huston was next at 68-278.In Phoenix, not even a sore wrist could keep Danielle Ammaccapane from her first LPGA victory. Ammaccapane shot a 4-under-par 69 Sunday to win the Standard Register-PING tournament by two strokes over Barb Bunkowsky and Meg Mallon.