Golf-Olazabal could turn down Ryder Cup captaincy

Reuters

Wed, 20 Oct 16:34:00 2010

* Olazabal fears health could rule out Ryder Cup captaincy

* Spaniard to make latest comeback this week

Twice U.S. Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal said worries over his health could force him to turn down Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy in 2012 should it be offered.

The Spaniard, a seven-times Ryder Cup player, is favourite to take over from Colin Montgomerie for the next biennial team event against the United States in Medinah, near Chicago.

Olazabal, 44, has been dogged by injuries and ill-health, including losing two years to rheumatoid arthritis in his feet in the mid 1990s.

He has suffered with rheumatic pain in his back and shoulders for the past two years and has played just won competitive event in 2010.

"If the committee decides it's going to be me as the next captain, I need to talk with them beforehand to see how we can solve the possible inconvenience that I may not be on the Tour playing that much," Olazabal told reporters on the eve of the Castello Masters on Wednesday where he will make his latest comeback.

"It would hurt me to say 'no' but if that is the right decision my conscience will be clear.

"I have been thinking about it for a long while and that's why I put the issue on the table. So I can see the situation where I will have to say 'no' and that will be only because of my health.

"But if they appoint me I somehow have to be close to the players, somehow be able to compete alongside them, talk to them, to see how they think, and just be close to the tour through the qualifying process."

Olazabal said he was making "slow progress" in his battle to regain fitness but was "heading in the right direction".

"I'm feeling better, though not 100 percent well. I'm still in pain and need to go on improving in order to perform at full level," he said.

Olazabal's only 2010 tournament was the French Open in July and it did not give him too much encouragement as he missed the cut in Versailles with rounds of 82 and 70.

Having taken an enforced break since, Olazabal said he felt ready to make a comeback.

"I cannot practice as I would like to - my limit is 130 balls and a bit of short-game work.

"But I actually played four practice rounds in a row last week without problem, that's why I'm here.

"I feel definitely better than in the French Open."

 

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