Ian Woosnam hails new generation of UK golfers

Ian Woosnam

Woosnam is a former world number one

Ian Woosnam believes the current crop of United Kingdom golfers can dominate the world game for years to come.

Woosnam, Masters champion in 1991, was a contemporary of fellow major winners Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle.

And the Welshman believes the likes of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell could go on to surpass their achievements.

"In depth, [there's] no doubt about it. There are so many good players these days," he said.

"They come up through the ranks, they go to these colleges and have all these lessons. It's a different game.

"It's not all about talent anymore. It's all about how you prepare to become a professional golfer."

Four British players - Donald, Westwood, McIlroy and McDowell - are currently ranked among the top 10 golfers in the world.

Northern Ireland's McIlroy was crowned US Open champion in June, a year after compatriot McDowell became the first European to lift the trophy since Tony Jacklin's triumph in 1970.

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy made it a Northern Irish double at the US Open

Donald is the current world number one after surpassing Westwood following his victory at the PGA Championship at Wentworth in May.

For Woosnam, the US Masters winner in 1991 following Lyle's victory in 1988 and Faldo's double in 1989 and 1990, the emergence of these players is reminiscent of his own golden era.

"It's amazing how these spells go around and how these guys feed off each other," Woosnam told BBC Wales.

"You play practice rounds with each other and it installs confidence in the other lads as well.

"I think it's really good for golf and everybody's going to be fighting that little bit harder to be that world number one."

Woosnam led Europe to victory over the United States in the Ryder Cup at the K Club in Ireland in 2006.

The European team, captained by Colin Montgomerie, regained the Ryder Cup with victory over the Americans at the Celtic Manor in Newport in 2010.

And Woosnam believes the prominence of European players is due to their ability to adapt to different courses and conditions.

"Every tournament's different," said Woosnam. "Being a European player it's like being an international player.

"You're playing all different kinds of conditions. I think that's where maybe the Europeans are a bit stronger in the game at the moment."