x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Jose Maria Olazabal rules out returning as European Team captain

The Spaniard pointed out viable contenders for the role, but refused to name a successor.

Jose Maria Olazabal captained the European Team to a last day comeback in the 2012 Ryder Cup.
Jose Maria Olazabal captained the European Team to a last day comeback in the 2012 Ryder Cup.

Jose Maria Olazabal has insisted there is no chance of him continuing as European Ryder Cup captain, despite his team's dramatic victory in the United States.

The Spaniard, whose side produced an incredible comeback from 10-4 down to clinch a remarkable win at Medinah by 14 1/2 points to 13 1/2, claimed there were a host of other deserving candidates to captain the team at Gleneagles in 2014.

Asked about taking on the captaincy again, Olazabal told a press conference at Heathrow: "I can assure you that's going to be a no, period."

He pointed to the likes of Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn, three of his vice-captains, as well as Paul Lawrie, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington as viable contenders for the role.

"There are a lot of players who should have the opportunity to be in my spot," he said.

"It would be unfair of me to just name one for the next Ryder Cup. All of them deserve that position."

Olazabal hailed his team's fightback as "extraordinary" as he revealed the drama of the final day of competition made him feel "alive".

"[Being captain] is difficult, in a way it's torture," he said.

"It's really tough on your nerves, but that's the beauty of the Ryder Cup. It's a huge adrenaline flow and that's what we live for to be honest - the pressure, the tension, the adrenaline flow makes us feel alive."

The Spaniard added: "I don't know if it's (the comeback) a miracle, but it's something extraordinary to be honest.

"We haven't seen that before.

"What the players achieved that day was just amazing. It's up to you to decide if it's the greatest moment or the greatest comeback in history but they (the players) deserve all the credit.

"We have this wonderful trophy here with us because of the huge achievement of those 12 men. They didn't stop believing and the performance they showed on Sunday was just incredible."

The captain has been inundated by messages of congratulation from the likes of Rafael Nadal and also the King of Spain.

"He was, like me, pretty much over the moon," said Olazabal. "That was a nice one."

Olazabal revealed there was one moment on Sunday when he could sense victory was within reach.

"Saturday afternoon was crucial, those last two matches were crucial for the outcome of the cup," he said.

"But it's true on Sunday there was a moment which was quite special. I was standing on the 12th tee waiting for Lee (Westwood) to come on to the tee and I looked at the board and at that point all five matches had already been won by Europe."

He added: "Lee came on to the tee and asked how we were doing. I had done my maths and knew we still had a chance of winning it and I had to walk away, I was very emotional at that point."

The Spaniard was even able to take Rory McIlroy's poor time-keeping in his stride.

Thinking that his match with Keegan Bradley started at 12.25pm instead of 11.25am, McIlroy was still at the team hotel when he got a panicked phone call telling him he had 25 minutes to get to the first tee.

The world number one had read the tee times on his phone in Eastern time, while Medinah operates on Central time, and he was given an escort to the course by a state trooper.

Olazabal added: "Luckily enough a police car was there and he made it on time. It was no surprise at all he managed to win his point."


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