Woosnam's business affairs are handled by the London office of IMG, Mark McCormack's Cleveland-based sports management firm. Although some of IMG's top European clients avoid heavy taxes by establishing homes in havens such as the island of Jersey or Monaco, Woosnam seems an unlikely candidate for expatriation. "I've got a million," he says. "That'll do for me. All my family's here. If I have to pay the tax, I'll pay it. That's it."
A rich golfer without a major championship is a rich golfer. Nothing more. Woosnam intends to be something more. Until now his chances even to play the majors have been few. Aside from the British Open, in which, after missing the cut in 1982, '83 and '84, he has finished 16th, third and eighth, respectively, in his last three tries, he has had two disappointing appearances in the U.S. PGA Championship, and that's all. This year Woosnam will play at the Masters, which has issued him an invitation for the first time, and at the U.S. Open, for which, for the first time, he is exempted from qualifying.
Last summer Ballesteros made it clear that he thought the Masters and the U.S. Open had erred in overlooking Woosnam, who had finished in the top six of the European Order of Merit, the equivalent of the U.S. money list, for three years running. Not everyone agreed. British golf writer Peter Dobereiner wrote, "Eight tournament victories in nine years, four of them in lesser events, demonstrated his potential, but they did not comprise the credentials of superstardom."
Today Woosnam's credentials are in order. "I've played in America," he says. "I like it. The golf courses suit me. The only trouble is it's such a long way away. I just want to play a few tournaments, as many as I can on invites. The circuit's good, but I don't think much of the players and their attitudes. Our tour's different. It's so friendly. I don't get that impression in America."
Pressure on Woosnam and the rest of Europe's growing number of golf stars—Ballesteros, Lyle, Faldo, Bernhard Langer et al.—to play in the U.S. is lessening as the European tour grows. Woosnam's first U.S. appearance of the year was last week at the Bay Hill Classic in Florida, where he finished 19th, and he plans to enter seven or eight more events here in 1988. He says he wouldn't miss the U.S. Open for anything, well, almost anything. Only the arrival of the new baby, which is due around the same time, could keep him from playing in the tournament.
"People tell me it gets harder," says Woosnam. "I've had it hard. It can only get easier."