The Masters is still under the grip of a foreign player. Only the overseas address has changed.

Ian Woosnam of Wales, who stands slightly taller than his golf bag at 5-foot-4 1/2, was the American killer in the 55th Masters.For the fourth consecutive year, the first-place crystal will travel back across the Atlantic to the British Isles.

Nick Faldo of England failed in his bid to win a third consecutive Masters, instead putting the green jacket on Woosnam. In 1988, Sandy Lyle of Scotland birdied the last hole to win.

Woosnam withstood challenges Sunday by Americans Tom Watson, Lanny Wadkins, Jodie Mudd, Ben Crenshaw and Steve Pate, and a fellow Ryder Cup teammate, 25-year-old Jose-Maria Olazabal of Spain, to earn his first major championship.

Faldo made a brief run with an early eagle and three consecutive back-nine birdies, but was too far back, shooting a 70 to finish five shots behind Woosnam.

"It just wasn't to be," Faldo said. "I shot myself out of it in the first two rounds."

Woosnam won it the hard way, making a putt about as long as his body for a par on the 72nd green after Watson and Olazabal had fallen victim to the uphill 405-yard, par-4 18th.

Woosnam, ranked the No. 1 player in the world, battled two-time Masters champion Watson and an unruly crowd around "Amen Corner" on Augusta National Golf Club's tricky and treacherous back nine.

A spectator yelled at Woosnam: "This isn't a links course, this is `Amen Corner' at Augusta National."

Woosnam, a former amateur boxer, got mad and came out swinging on the 14th tee.

"A few people were trying to give me a hard time, get to me," Woosnam said. "A European player has won the last four Masters. At the moment Europe is better. I guess you've got to expect that (behavior) from the crowd."

Watson said "the crowd was very partisan in my favor. I told Woosie a little story to try to cool him down."

Woosnam said the story was about how Don January used to razz Watson and Watson would say back to him: "Thank you very much."

"So I hit my drive down the middle, then turned and said, `Thank you very much,"' Woosnam said. "The more aggressive I get, the better I play."

Woosnam was so mad at the treatment he had received from the pro-Watson fans that he told them after he hooked his tee shot in Rae's Creek on 13: "I hope you're all happy I hit it in there."

The 33-year-old Woosnam, who finished second in the 1989 U.S. Open, shot a final-round even-par 72 for a 72-hole total of 277 for the $243,000 first-place money.

Olazabal made it a 1-2 finish for Europe with a bogey on the last hole for a 70 and 278.

Watson, 41, double-bogeyed the last hole for a 73 and a four-way tie with Wadkins , Crenshaw and Pate .

Watson, who hasn't won a major since the 1983 British Open, gave it a gallant try with two eagles on the homeward par-5s.

But Watson double-bogeyed the 155-yard, par-3 No. 12, then pushed his tee shot on 18 into the trees, setting up a second shot that ran into the front bunker. He sand-wedged long and three-putted.

"It was a great disappointment," Watson said. "In 1978 I lost the Masters to Gary Player with a bad tee shot at 18."

Watson said Woosnam "is a winner, a tough competitor, young and strong."

Asked for his explanation of four consecutive foreign winners at Augusta, Watson said, "I guess they are better players."

Although Woosnam had the world No. 1 ranking, he felt he wouldn't truly deserve it unless he won a major.

"I had said I felt I was the best player in the world," Woosnam said. "I felt I had to prove what I said. I tended to get myself worked up under the pressure in the majors. Now, maybe I will be more relaxed when I play in them."

Woosnam built up his arm strength by driving tractors when he was young. He honed his game by playing on the African tour.

"I gave it five years, then I would get a club job," he said. "I finished second in the 1982 Italian Open and that got me going."

Woosnam said he has never felt such pressure at Augusta.

"I was wishing that the day would get over with because I wanted to know the result," Woosnam said. "It felt like we were out there 10 hours."

Olazabal, fast becoming the successor to Seve Ballesteros as Spain's best player, got into two bunkers on 18 to fall a stroke short.

"It's the biggest pressure of any tournament I have been in," Olazabal said. "I just wish I had my tee shot back. It caught the fairway bunker."

Woosnam, who slipped on a size 40 short green jacket, said he had admiration for Watson after their 36-hole duel the last two days.

"He never gives up, and he showed that," Woosnam said. "He played great, but he didn't putt well."

Woosnam even knows what he'll serve at the champions dinner in 1992.

"Welsh lamb it'll be," Woosnam said.

And how will he celebrate?

"I wouldn't be surprised if I had a few beers."