José María Olazábal to be named Ryder Cup captain

The 44-year-old Spaniard is set to be unveiled as Colin Montgomerie's successor in January

By Robin Woolley
jose maria olazabal
(Photo: Robert Gusick)

jose maria olazabal

Flamboyant Spaniard José María Olazábal is set to be named as the new European Ryder Cup Captain early next month.

The 44-year-old’s challenge will be to lead Europe to back-to-back triumphs over America when the two sides meet again at Medinah, Chicago in 2012.

He will succeed Colin Montgomerie whose European side triumphed at Celtic Manor back in September, completing a 14 ½ -13 ½ victory.

In the immediate aftermath of the match Montgomerie announced that he would not be interested in retaining the captaincy and threw his support behind Ryder Cup veteran Olazábal.

Olazábal’s Ryder Cup career began in 1987 and he went on to play in seven cups as well as being assistant captain twice – to Nick Faldo in 2008 and Montgomerie in 2010.

This experience surely sets him apart from any other potential candidates for the role. Indeed, the common perception seems to be that the decision has already been made in his favour.

The Spaniard holds a place in Ryder Cup history as being part of the most successful pairing, alongside his fellow countryman Seve Ballesteros.

The only question raised has surrounded Olazábal’s long-running battle with arthritis, which has severely limited the number of tournaments he has been able to play in recent years.

However, his passion and commitment to European golf is unquestioned and in the heated, partisan atmosphere of America, he just might be the perfect man for the job.

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