Making the decision was the Tournament Committee of The European Tour, ratified by The Ryder Cup Policy Board.
What a fantastic way to celebrate my birthday, Woosnam said. My wife, Glen, and I are absolutely delighted. The Ryder Cup has been a big part in our lives and it is a huge honor to be named captain of the European team. It makes me feel very proud, especially as Wales has such a great tradition of producing Ryder Cup captains.
Wales, in fact, is hosting the matches in 2010, but obviously the committee felt that was too long to make Woosnam wait.
Woosnam has played on eight Ryder Cup teams, ranging from 1983 to 1997, and was the assistant captain to Sam Torrance in 2002. He was bypassed by captain Bernhard Langer in 2004, but now will get his chance as captain in 2006.
I learned such a lot from working with and alongside Sam when we won at The Belfry in 2002 that I know it will stand me in good stead, said Woosnam. I also know it is going to be a tremendously hard job to follow straight after Bernhard, our winning captain from last year, but I will do my utmost to help the team at The K Club.
At the end of the day we want to win in Ireland and we want to keep both hands on Samuel Ryders trophy. But lets not forget that from a European viewpoint, Sam and Bernhard, in winning, also ensured that the true traditions of the game were upheld and that fair play and good sportsmanship were top of the agenda. My stance is that it should be no different at The K Club and I know Captain Tom Lehman and his American team will, like ourselves, look forward to a close, exciting and sporting contest.
In 1993 Woosnam became the first and so far only European Ryder Cup player to claim the maximum four points from the two foursomes and two fourball matches. He partnered Langer in the foursomes and Peter Baker in the fourballs.
There is nothing like winning The Ryder Cup, he said. I was lucky enough to enjoy that feeling five times as a player and once as assistant to Sam, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to lead us to a successful defense next year.
'In fact I would like to create a little history. Europe has held The Ryder Cup three successive times because we tied in 1989 after winning in 1985 and 1987, but we have never won three successive matches. So I need to follow on from Sam and Bernhards fantastic achievements in 2002 and 2004.
Faldos selection for 2008 is somewhat unorthodox in that he has been named almost four years before the matches are played in the U.S. But it is a gesture towards the Englishman and the remarkable Ryder Cup record he has posted ' his record of 11 European teams, 46 matches and 25 points.
This is a proud day for both of us, Faldo said. It is a huge honor to be named captain of The European Ryder Cup team in 2008, and I cant say how excited I am at the prospect of leading the side in the United States.
The Ryder Cup has always been extremely important to me and I will look forward to planning for that match. But for now its Ians time, and I wish him the best for his captaincy.
Faldo will captain the team in the U.S. after spending most of the past 10 years living in Orlando, Fla. Faldo now lists a London suburb as his primary residence.
Ive spent a lot of my career in America, and Ive always enjoyed the support of the people and the challenge of competing on the other side of the pond, he said. I hope my profile and success in the United States will be an advantage to the European team.
The Ryder Cup is one of the most exciting and important competitions in the golfing calendar and never fails to inspire both team members and spectators alike. With 11 previous appearances, I have so many fond memories of my time as a player and am honored to be joining the list of great names that have captained the European team in the past. Having played under five different captains, I have picked up a few tips along the way and hope that I can draw on my own experiences to guide the European team to victory.