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The Famous Five

By John Hopkins   •   April 25, 2020

How Seve, Faldo, Langer, Lyle and Woosnam Changed the Face of the Ryder Cup

This story was first published on Sept. 20, 2018.

The house was humble, far from grand, and centred on a smallholding in the village of Pedreña, near Santander, on the northwest coast of Spain. Chickens pecked and clucked in the ground outside. A donkey was tethered nearby. Rabbits scurried around. In such inauspicious circumstances, Severiano Ballesteros, the youngest of five sons, one of whom died, aged 2, from a wasp’s sting, was born on 9 April 1957.

From such humble beginnings. Ballesteros became the European golfer of his era, giving fans a rare amount of pleasure with his Picasso-like artistry and demonstrating wherever he went a force field of charisma that tens of thousands found irresistible. His golfing skill brought him five major championships, his charisma the sort of attention that had been given previously to Arnold Palmer.

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More than that though, Ballesteros led four of his gifted fellow European golfers – Englishman Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer from Germany, Scotsman Sandy Lyle and Welshman Ian Woosnam – to become the most potent force of European golfers for years, if not ever.

Ballesteros demonstrated to his fellow Europeans that if he could beat the Americans for the game’s biggest prizes at home and away, then they could too. And they did. Starting in July 1979 with the first of Ballesteros’s three victories in the Open and continuing until April 1996 when Faldo won his third Masters, there were 67 major championships. Europe’s famous five won 16 of them.

All five won the Masters; all except Langer and Woosnam won the Open. All but Lyle became world No 1 and captained Europe in the Ryder Cup, Ballesteros, Langer and Woosnam to victories. Faldo’s Europe team at Valhalla in 2008 lost to a highly organised US squad led by Paul Azinger.

Ken Schofield, a former executive director of the European Tour, has likened these men’s achievements at this time to those of the Great Triumvirate, James Braid, Harry Vardon and  J.H. Taylor, three quarters of a century earlier. “They were so special,” Schofield said. “They unquestionably helped identify and make the European Tour and they are unquestionably the soul of it.”

By some quirk, all five were born within 11 months of one another: Ballesteros, as said, on 9 April 1957; Faldo in Welwyn Garden City, England, on 18 July 1957; Langer in Anhausen (now Diedorf) West Germany on 27 August 1957; Lyle in Shrewsbury, England, on 9 February 1958; and Woosnam in Oswestry, England, on 2 March 1958. “I don’t know what was in the water in Europe at that time but I want some of it,” Tony Johnstone, the former European Tour player, joked.

Such success so quickly by men from Europe enabled the European Tour to overtake its Japanese equivalent in terms of prize money and prestige and become the second-biggest professional golf tour in the world. Having changed the face of golf in Europe by their skill and individual success, these men went on to change the face of world golf because of the extra oomph they injected into Europe’s teams in the Ryder Cup. They started the transformation of the Ryder Cup from a hopelessly one-sided event in favour of the US into a genuine sporting contest, one of the biggest and most watched in the world. “That group sure made golf global,” said Davis Love III, a contemporary of many of the Europeans and captain of the losing US team in 2012 and the victorious one in 2016.

For all their combined 160 individual victories, and the deep impressions they each left when playing on their own in countries as far apart as the US, Japan, South Africa and Australia, one of their greatest legacies was to instigate an astonishing revival in Europe’s Ryder Cup fortunes.

Unwilling to Fail

Prior to 1985, the US held an extraordinary dominance against Great Britain & Ireland in the biennial competition that had begun in 1927. The US won every subsequent match except those of 1929, 1933, 1957 and 1969, a record of 21 victories, one half and three losses.

In 1979, partly in response to an initiative by Jack Nicklaus, who thought the competition had become so one-sided that he feared for its future, and overseen by Lord Derby, then chairman of the PGA, the Great Britain & Ireland team was expanded to include players from mainland Europe.

It didn’t take long for this strengthening of the European teams to make an impression. In 1983, at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida, Europe got to within one point of victory thanks in part to inspired captaincy by Tony Jacklin. From that day to this, the biennial competition has swung firmly in favour of Europe, a run of success that coincided with the arrival in all their glory of the famous five. Since 1983 there have been 16 matches and Europe lead the US by 10-5 with one halved.

Ballesteros, Sam Torrance, Langer and captain Tony Jacklin celebrate victory at The Belfry in 1985.

Some of the transformation in European golf was brought about by improved coaching of golfers. The work throughout Europe and in the US by the late John Jacobs, the cerebral Englishman, was crucial to this.

At the same time the organisation and growth of the European Tour, led first by Jacobs, then by Schofield and George O’Grady and most recently by Keith Pelley, provided increased playing opportunities, ever-increasing prize money, better practice facilities and improved golf-course conditioning, all of which drew would-be golfers to a professional career. In 1972, 19 events on the fledgling European Tour offered a total prize money of £306,000 and an average prize money per event of £19,663. In 2017, the tour’s 47 events offered a total of £163 million and an average per event of £3.9 million.

As the game’s popularity spread in the 1970s and 1980s, golfers from all across Europe were attracted to compete on this burgeoning tour. Of these, Ballesteros, Faldo, Langer, Lyle and Woosnam were diverse, extremely talented, typical contestants.

None had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Langer recalls having clothes that were hand-me-downs from his brother and his parents only buying their first car in 1990, by which time he was past 30.

Ballesteros, the nephew of the great Spanish professional Ramón Sota who won the open championships of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Holland and Brazil and once finished sixth in the Masters, lived with his parents and three brothers in a house on his parents’ smallholding.

Faldo’s father, George, worked in the financial planning department of ICI Plastics and Joyce, his wife, added to the family income by working for a company making silk clothing. Their home was a two-bedroom council house. Lyle’s father, Alex, was professional at Hawkstone Park Golf Club near Shrewsbury. Woosnam grew up the hard-working son of a farmer on the English and Welsh border.

Tom Lehman, the 1996 Open champion, competed against all of them, notably Ballesteros in a memorable singles in the 1995 Ryder Cup, and captained the losing US team in the 2006 Ryder Cup. He noted they had one common characteristic. “They all had an intense unwillingness to fail,” Lehman said.

“We in America regarded them with huge respect. They have been great players for Europe. They have been great players for the game of golf. The have made the PGA Tour in the US better. When they would show up, it changed the dynamic. ‘Hey the European stars are here.’ It made a difference.

“Seve is an example of when I say they were stubborn golfers. He was going to do it his way, period. There was a time when he wanted the rules on the PGA Tour to be changed to relax the number of events. They wouldn’t do it or they changed it to make it more stringent.

“You knew (Seve) was special. You knew Woosie was normal. You knew Sandy was Sandy. You knew Faldo was a prick. And you knew Langer had fortitude. … They were very different but they all had one common thing. They all had a big heart and big balls.” – Andrew “Chubby” Chandler

“So when he came over for the Masters he refused to play in a US tour event as a warm-up. He played in a couple of mini-tour events that I was playing in. I have to tell you that guys there thought that Seve was the world’s coolest cat for doing that. ‘Hey, Seve is playing in our tournament.’ ”

Andrew “Chubby” Chandler, now a manager, played on the European Tour at the same time as all five. “I didn’t have a feeling I was among anointed players,” Chandler said. “I was trying to beat them. Seve was Seve wasn’t he? I remember him with a cashmere sweater wrapped around his shoulders and 50 girls behind him. This debonair guy who always had a tan because of where he lived.

“He was the man. I played nine holes with him at La Moraleja (Spain) in a practice round. It was about 1987. I was so nervous, I didn’t really play with him. I spent nine holes watching him. I must have played in 80 tournaments that Seve also played in and I think I beat him once. That was mainly because he finished top 10 every week. But I beat him at the Italian Open in 1986. I was third. I remember that he was fourth because he was on my left at the presentation.

“You knew he was special. You knew Woosie was normal. You knew Sandy was Sandy. You knew Faldo was a prick. And you knew Langer had fortitude. He had gone from being a complete yipper (with his putter) to getting through all that and managing to play. They were very different but they all had one common thing. They all had a big heart and big balls. That’s what I say to a young golfer now. You need a big heart and big balls.

“Faldo had a bit of OCD about him at first. I remember a very early Greater Manchester Open at Wilmslow when he came to stay at my house for that week. My mum said to him, ‘What time do you want breakfast?’ He said 8:12. It wasn’t 8 o’clock or quarter past. It was 8:12. I think that was because he’ll have worked out that was three hours or four hours before his starting time. I think he managed to leave our house without saying thank you.”

Most golfers who played with Faldo or knew him during his playing years held the view that he was self-centred and difficult to get to know or like. “He was never a real personable guy,” Lehman said. “He stuck to himself and worked hard. I thought that was great.

Faldo in 1995

“I thought he was a bit of a loner,” Langer said. “He went about his business. He didn’t even notice you sometimes. He would come to a course and demonstrate that this is what I want to do and this is how I am going to do it. Nothing gets in my way. Now he is very different.”

“It was a thrill to play with Seve,” Davis Love III said. “He was the European star. He was really probably Tiger Woods then to golf fans. Woosie was the most fun of them all to play with, fun, entertaining and scrappy. I loved playing with Sandy. He always hit a 1-iron on every hole and I loved hitting my 1-iron. But Faldo, he wasn’t a chipper guy to play with. You just didn’t know how to take him.”

Here are three reasons which might account for Faldo being this way. The first is he is an only son. But Woosnam and Lyle are only children too and they were not like this.

A second is that he was spoiled as a child by Joyce, his mother. Not only that, Gill, Faldo’s second wife, did more than her share in the Faldo household, too. “Nick never had to put other people into his timetable,” Gill said in 1990. “He was always able to do what he wanted and that is reflected in the way he leads his life. He was spoilt by his mother who did everything for him.

“I’ve had my moments when I’ve felt I should walk out of here – not because of marriage problems but through frustration that I have to do everything. He is so totally devoted to what he wants to do. If he’s worried about a particular problem in his game then he wants to get that sorted out and not put the shelves up. His golf comes first.”

A third is that Faldo had decided that this was the way for him to conduct his professional life, concentrate fully on himself. Go straight ahead. Don’t look left or right at any of his peers. This seems to be the most likely reason because now that his competitive days have finished, he has become much more approachable.

“Nick is one of the greatest players of any era,” Mark McCumber, the former PGA Tour player, said. “But he was not gregarious on a golf course in any way, shape or form. He was a tough competitor and when you played with him it wasn’t a charming, chatty day, I can tell you.

“When Nick started TV (announcing) I saw a new side to him and I said to him one day: Are you the same guy I played with all those years ago? You’re coming over so charming and I don’t remember that personality when we were between 1 and 18 on a golf course. I’d have to chalk it up to that was the way he used to compete. Tough competitor.”

Lyle easily could have won a popularity contest. Nobody disliked him then and nobody does now. The late Dave Musgrove, Lyle’s longtime caddie, once said: “Sandy is the best bloke in the world to caddie for. My wages must be the best on tour and when I stay at his home at Wentworth he brings me tea in the morning.”

“He might be the sweetest man I have ever met,” McCumber said of Lyle, his neighbour in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. “I think that of those guys he might be the most naturally gifted of all.

“I played with him at Doral one of the years I won there, back in the ’80s. He had this Ping 1-iron, this was before driving irons, and he’d hit that thing 270 or 280 yards. That was unheard of. Back then some guys didn’t hit their drivers that far. You know how he did it? Have you seen his legs? They’re like people’s waists.

“I remember him picking that iron out of the bunker on 18 (at Augusta in the 1988 Masters) clean as a whistle. Wow! Go try that one for style. He just clipped it off the ground. That is incredible talent. But I still remember him more as a nice man as I do a great golfer.”

“When I talk about the best ballstriker I have seen the first name that springs to mind is Woosie.” – Caddie Billy Foster

Woosnam’s stock in trade, apart from his willingness to have a cigarette and a beer and his general geniality, was the power he generated for his wonderfully smooth swing from such a small frame. “His swing is so oily,” Bob Torrance, the father of tour player and Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance and for some time Woosnam’s coach, once said. Barely 5 feet 5 inches tall, Woosnam could, at his peak, hit the ball huge distances. He was, a golf writer once noted, “very long off the tee and very short on it.”

And his ballstriking was sublime. Billy Foster, the caddie who has worked for many of the top players including Ballesteros, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods, said, “ … I started caddying in the early ’80s and undoubtedly for the first 10 years Ian Woosnam had the most impressive ball flight and his shotmaking skills were second to none.

“When I talk about the best ballstriker I have seen the first name that springs to mind is Woosie.”

Such power helped Woosnam win the Masters in 1991 at the end of a week in which he had become world No 1, the first man to reach that position without a major championship to his name. Lee Westwood would later achieve the same distinction.

Woosnam in 1991

“Whether it was hitting the ball further than anyone else, beating Sandy Lyle or winning the Masters, there is always a little bit of ‘I can show you’ about Woosie,” Tony Johnstone said. “I used to joke with him about our combined height because I’m a shorty too. I don’t think he got aggressive, though he once was a bouncer in a pub, but in the back of his mind he wanted to prove that the little guy can do what the rest of them can do as well.”

Langer, the fifth member of this quintet, had none of the barroom attributes of Woosnam, nor the gifted techniques of Lyle nor Faldo’s desire to be a loner. Like Faldo, he came to golf relatively late and he developed a swing that bore little resemblance to those of Ballesteros and Woosnam – but rarely let him down.

When this was added to his exceptional mental fortitude, Langer became a very complete player. “He never changes,” said Woosnam. “I have great respect for him. He is not up, he is not down, he stays the same. What you see is what you get. He was a gentleman, a complete gentleman.”

“He is a great family man and he has a strong faith,” Lehman said. “One of the things I admire about Bernhard is once he makes his mind up there is no second guessing, no looking back, no double talk. Whereas most guys have that little nagging thought, I wonder if I’m making the right decision, I wonder if I can do it, he doesn’t. He makes up his mind and there is no doubt left. It is full steam ahead with complete conviction. You can learn from guys like that.”

Potent Force

The five men competed fiercely against one another, whether in Europe, the US or Japan. This rivalry did not breed friendships. “I felt comfortable with all of them but I wasn’t real close with any of them because we were really rivals, like (Roger) Federer and (Novak) Djokovic,” Langer said. “Seve and I were competing for the top prizes, the money lists, the bonuses, all the accolades that come along in the game of golf so it’s hard to be close to somebody when that is going on.”

Come the biennial Ryder Cup against the US however and the five merged into a hugely potent force, their individual differences and rivalries put aside in the cause of helping Europe beat the US. “There is no better competition than the Ryder Cup,” Langer said. “It is one of the very few team events we play. All the other tournaments are individual. If I win or lose the Masters or the Open that is my own thing but the Ryder Cup is a team event and I love team golf. You are representing your tour and as such are one of the best players in Europe.”

Ballesteros, who with Faldo were the only two of the five to be in the first Europe team, in 1979, was the undoubted leader in this campaign to defeat the Americans. His relationship with the US was coloured by a series of unfortunate happenings.

The Americans had difficulty pronouncing his first name correctly. Sometimes they said Steve, sometimes Sev. Ballesteros was disqualified for missing his tee time in the 1980 US Open. And anyway, the US was not his home country nor part of his home continent. Spain was, so his loyalties were directed powerfully at helping Europe win the Ryder Cup.

For him to win the Ryder Cup was a campaign that had to end in success for him and his teammates just as he campaigned to capture the hand of the more highly born Carmen Botín against the wishes of her father – and won – and just as he fought the rules of the European Tour about appearance money and the PGA Tour on other issues and won those, too.

An interjection is in order here. This passion was not limited to the Ryder Cups in which he played. It was just as fervent in the 1997 match at Valderrama in southern Spain where Ballesteros captained Europe. He was as unpredictable in his role as captain as he was erratic from the tee.

He summoned Miguel Ángel Jiménez, a vice captain, to his room in the middle of the night to discuss pairings and when the bleary-eyed Jiménez arrived, Ballesteros dismissed him curtly: “I’ve done them. Go back to bed.”

Ballesteros was prone to tell players how to play certain shots and if they didn’t do as they were told he would demonstrate. He raced his buggy around.

At Valderrama, he arrived at Thomas Bjørn’s match against Justin Leonard when the Dane was 4 down and demanded an explanation.

“Thomas, what is going on?”

“Don’t worry Seve,” Bjørn said. “It’s all right. Just leave me alone.”

Bjørn was right. He had things under control. He and Leonard halved their match.

Captain Ballesteros during the 1997 Ryder Cup

Ballesteros tried to tell Langer to play the sort of shot only he, Ballesteros, would contemplate and bring off on the 18th of Langer’s Saturday afternoon foursomes match with Colin Montgomerie against Lee Janzen and Jim Furyk.

“Seve said you’ve got to take your 1-iron and hit it low under the branches, then make it climb and then slice it 40 yards so that it lands on the green,” Langer said. “From the rough!”

“I said to Seve, ‘It’s OK. We got it. It’s Monty and me. We got here because we can play so we got it.’ I told (Seve) to quiet down.”

Woosnam recalls Ballesteros as “a shocking captain. His Ryder Cup was the worst I ever had. First he says you can stop drinking. This is the Monday we arrived. I said, ‘Seve I’m off. I’m going home.’ He didn’t even tell me who I was playing with. He would whisper in other players’ ears who they were playing with. Monty said, ‘He has told me who I am playing with and I am not allowed to tell you.’ It was the complete opposite of what Tony Jacklin had done, the complete opposite of what I tried to do with my team in 2006.”

Even so, Ballesteros’s approach to captaincy ended in victory. There was quite simply no way he, King of Spain, was not going to be successful in his home country in 1997, the first time the Ryder Cup had been played outside England and Scotland. Ballesteros’s formidable personality, never more formidable than against the US, and his commitment to the Ryder Cup cause would not have allowed it. End of interjection.

Reversing the Tide

The first signs of a successful revival for Europe came at Palm Beach Gardens in 1983 from a team outstandingly captained by Jacklin. Ballesteros, Faldo, Lyle and Langer and Woosnam were the core of a team that lost by only one point. Ballesteros was the only member of the Europe team who was not downhearted.

“In our team room afterwards I was sitting next to Tony and he was on Scotch by then,” Faldo said. “Seve said we must celebrate. This is a victory for us. From that day on we went to The Belfry (in 1985) with a completely different attitude and then an even better attitude or confidence when we went to Muirfield Village in 1987. That little run there was fantastic.

“Passion, that was what made us so good,” Faldo, who would go on to set a record of 11 appearances in a row, starting in 1977 and finishing in 1997, continued. “We were very good but there was passion, a will to win. There is nothing better than going out the door believing you are going to win and winning. They were not better than us any more. We could match them from tee to green.”

And he was right. The Concorde flew over The Belfry on the afternoon of 15 September 1985 marking Europe’s victory, the first since GB&I had won at Lindrick in 1957. Ballesteros, Faldo, Langer, Lyle and Woosnam won 9½ of Europe’s 16½ points either singly or jointly.

The team clambered onto the roof of the hotel and Paul Way sprayed bottle after bottle of champagne onto fans below. Inside the Europe team room a song rang out. “We’re going to win in America, we’re going to win in America,” to the tune of the song America in West Side Story. The Europeans were confident.

The next Ryder Cup, at Muirfield Village, Jack Nicklaus’s club in Columbus, Ohio, almost exactly 31 years ago, was perhaps the one that showed the five men at their best and how European golf had changed. It also demonstrated the captaincy skills that Jacklin, by then leading his third Europe team in a row, had developed with regard to his choice of pairings.

“When we flew in to Muirfield Village, Tony said to me: ‘I want you to play with Woosie,’ ” Faldo, the reigning Open champion that year, said. “I had played with Langer at The Belfry and we lost so Tony wanted to change things. He said to me, ‘You’ll be the long and the short of it.’ As soon as we could after we had landed Woosie said: ‘Let’s go and play nine holes proper, foursome, one ball, no cheating.’ And we did. We suited up and played a proper nine holes. In the first match we dovetailed great. We ham-and-egged it against Lanny Wadkins and Larry Mize.”

The Europeans, the third pairing out, delivered the first point of the match for their continent. They were retained as a partnership for the afternoon four-balls, which they won, the Saturday morning foursomes, which they halved, and the Saturday afternoon four-balls, which they won, 5 and 4, against Tom Kite and Curtis Strange.

No pairing had ever been so successful for Europe.

Woosnam, Jacklin and Faldo in 1987

“Do you remember the days in foursomes when if you broke par you won your match?” Faldo said. “We broke the back of that thinking. Suddenly we are shooting 4, 5 or 6 under to win in foursomes. Down the fairway, on the green, in the hole. I think we changed the mindset in foursomes. Now you have to go and shoot maybe 6 under to win a foursomes match.”

Immediately behind Faldo and Woosnam on that opening morning was another untried foursomes pairing. Jacklin put José María Olazábal, then 21 and making his debut, with his countryman Ballesteros, who was nine years older, appearing in his fourth Ryder Cup and one of the top-ranked players in the world. Ballesteros had first reached No 1 on 27 April 1986 and remained there for 20 weeks before being displaced by Greg Norman.

“I’m not much of a man for speeches, but this Tony Jacklin, he should be made a lord.” – Ian Woosnam

Jacklin’s masterstroke in putting the two Spaniards together was the start of a legendary partnership for Europe, the two men playing 15 foursomes and four-ball matches in tandem, winning 11, halving two and losing only two. Their total of 12 points is twice as many as the next best partnership, Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood.

That Friday afternoon Jacklin unveiled another powerful partnership – Langer, the 1985 Masters champion, who had played and lost with Ken Brown in the morning, was paired with Lyle, the 1985 Open champion. This Scottish/German axis won all three matches. “Sandy was extremely powerful,” Langer said. “He hit the ball amazing distances. He seemed to have no nerves. He just rolled in putt after putt after putt.”

The Saturday afternoon four-balls were the icing on the cake for Europe. Faldo and Woosnam led off by walloping Kite and Strange. “I think we were 6 under after six,” Faldo said. “When you’re doing that golf is fun, my goodness me.”

Lyle and Langer in 1987

Bringing up the rear were Langer and Lyle, whose victory by one hole against Wadkins and Larry Nelson was confirmed with some dazzling strokes on the last hole. “We were 1 up and Lanny stiffed his approach, hitting it to 2½ feet,” Langer said. The crowd went mad thinking the Americans were going to get a half point. “I had the longest tee shot so I hit an 8-iron and it ended inside Lanny’s to secure the full point.”

Nicklaus was watching the way the Europeans were manhandling his course. On the Friday the Americans won only the first two matches of the day, Europe winning the next six. On Saturday morning, after a delay for fog, Europe won 2½ points from four. On Saturday afternoon, the golf played by Woosnam/Faldo and Langer/Lyle was astonishing, many, many under par. “I never expected to see golf like this on my golf course,” Nicklaus said.

With an unprecedented lead after two days – 10½-5½ – Europe were almost home and hosed. Yet in Sunday’s singles there were a few anxious moments before, appropriately, Ballesteros holed a tricky putt on the 17th green to hand Strange, who would win the US Open the next two years, a fourth defeat and Europe the headiest of victories, the first overseas.

Faldo pinpointed one reason why Europe played so well in that Ryder Cup. “That was Tony’s great trick, the partnerships,” Faldo said. “America has only just found partnerships and they are going to be dangerous in Paris because they’ve got serious. But in recent Ryder Cups, apart from Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, you go back to Arnold Palmer and Gardner Dickinson as the next best partnership and that was in the ’60s and ’70s.”

“I’m not much of a man for speeches,” Woosnam said. “But this Tony Jacklin, he should be made a lord.”

Singular Legacy

Musing on the legacy the famous five left behind, Faldo said: “Our group did an awful lot for the European Tour. The Ryder Cup as we know was the bank balance for the tour and we turned it round so we became victorious and obviously it has been kept going to this day. It was that era – our era – in the ’80s that made it a match.

“I’m very proud of what we did,” Woosnam said. “The Ryder Cup could have died a death if we hadn’t started winning it. It is extraordinary to see where it is now. It is nice to see that they are making a little bit more of a thing about it now and showing more respect for what did happen 30 years ago.”

Team Europe in 1987

“What we did opened up European golf,” Langer said. “We weren’t invited to play in the Masters, the US Open or many other events. Now we were invited. They thought, ‘There’s some talent over there, some really good players. We should have them in our tournaments.’ There was no world ranking in the early days. I remember (in the early ’80s) when the only European who got invited to the Masters was the one who had won the money list.”

“I have great respect for these Europeans,” McCumber said. “I think it is so cool that they were born within one year of one another and every one is a Hall of Famer. How about that? We had (Tony) Jacklin come and play over here (the US) for a while. We have had Australians like Bruce Devlin, David Graham and Bruce Crampton but we didn’t have many stars from the European Tour that came and played a lot over here.

“But when they (Ballesteros, Faldo, Langer, Lyle and Woosnam) came over not only did they play but they proved they could compete and win on the best tour in the world. They changed the face of golf in Europe and I think they greatly added a dimension to world golf by playing the PGA Tour. They totally, totally, made the Ryder Cup. Wow!”

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Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Sandy Lyle, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam (Peter Dazeley, Getty Images); Faldo and Lyle (Augusta National, Getty Images); Woosnam 1991 Masters (Augusta National, Getty Images); Lyle 1988 Masters (Getty Images); Langer 1985 Masters (Augusta National, Getty Images); Seve 1980 Masters (Augusta National, Getty Images); Faldo, Lyle, Woosnam, Langer and Seve (David Cannon, Getty Images); Seve, Sam Torrance, Langer and Tony Jacklin (David Cannon, Getty Images); Faldo 1995 Ryder Cup (David Cannon, AllSport/Getty Images); Woosnam 1991 Ryder Cup (PGA of America/Getty Images); Woosnam, Tony Jacklin and Faldo (Brian Morgan, Getty Images); Lyle and Langer in 1987 (Jeff McBride, PGA of America/Getty Images); Team Europe (David Cannon, Getty Images)