José Maria Olazábal, one of Spain’s greatest golfers and European Captain at The 2012 Ryder Cup, has confirmed his participation in the Castelló Masters from October 20-23.
The 23-time European Tour champion has played in every edition of the €2million event since its inception in 2008, when his compatriot Sergio Garcia secured an emotional victory on his home course, Club de Campo del Mediterráneo in Castellón, near Valencia, Spain.
Olazábal finished 15th that year and improved to 14th in 2008, when Sweden’s Michael Jonzon succeeded Garcia as champion.
He said: “I love to play the Castelló Masters, because it is one of my favourite events. I always look forward to playing because we are always very well treated by the club members, workers, course staff, and the Club President Carlos Fabra – they always give everything to make us happy.
“We eat marvellous paellas, and every time we have played the course it is in great condition – the greens are among the best in Europe. I feel something special with Club de Campo del Mediterráneo – the people here make us feel so welcome that we really want to come back.
“We also have to thank Generalitat Valenciana and Diputacion de Castellon for their support. Not just nowadays but always, it is really important to have support from the sponsors because without them there wouldn’t be a tournament.
“We have gone through wealthy times when it seemed easy to find sponsors, but now that we are going through economically difficult times we really have to thank them very much for their support to golf.”
Commenting on his own game, Olazábal revealed he had seen some encouraging signs of improvement on the range in recent weeks.
He said: “I am practising my irons and my game around the green, and I am getting better. Players hit it really far these days, so the only way to compensate it is with an extraordinary short game. I have to keep working hard to stay competitive.
“I am also much better physically, considering that I could not do any exercise for three years. I still cannot lift weights but at least I can run, so that is very positive.”
Main sponsors of the Castelló Masters, which is promoted by MatchGolf, are Generalitat Valenciana and Diputación de Castellón, and the co-sponsors Air Europa and TaylorMade Adidas Golf.