Tuesday, 25 September 2012
European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal  (Getty Images)
European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal (Getty Images)

Related Content

  • Justin Rose and Ian Poulter
  • Ian Poulter and Justin Rose
  •  European team captain Jose Maria Olazabal with vice captain Darren Clarke
  • Martin Kaymer and Team Europe in action
  • European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal with Lee Westwood
  •  European Team captain Jose Maria Olazabal
  •  European Team captain Jose Maria Olazabal (L) chats with countryman Sergio Garcia
  •  European Team captain Jose Maria Olazabal
  • European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal

José María Olazábal was giving very little away on the first practice day of The 2012 Ryder Cup but Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell appear to be central to his early planning.

The Northern Irishman famously secured the winning point two years ago with the expectations of a team and a continent on his shoulders and his Captain is clearly looking for, and expecting, another huge performance.

“He's one of our main men, to be honest,” said Olazábal. “He loves this competition.  I think this competition brings the best in him.  He's a very gutsy player.  He will fight until the very end.  He will fight for every shot, for every inch.  And we saw that in the past.

“At Celtic Manor, he was last in that singles match on Monday, and I have to say that he was a little down on himself on Sunday night.  But as the match progressed that Monday, what he did was outstanding.  So that's why I said he's one of my main men.”

Likewise, the Ryder Cup brings the best out of Garcia and he has proven himself a great team player over the years in forging formidable partnerships with the likes of Jesper Parnevik, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Olazábal himself. Indeed, Garcia has never lost a foursomes match – winning eight and halving one of his nine ties.

With McDowell and Rory McIlroy expected to renew their Northern Irish partnership, was Olazábal testing another partnership for Garcia by putting him in the same group as Paul Lawrie? The Captain refused to be drawn on such speculation other than to say: “I've tried to mix a little bit of, not the same characters, but guys that I believe can complement each other and who understand each other really well, and that's why I put Paul Lawrie with the Northern Irish guys and Sergio.

“Sergio is a guy that gets close to everyone; he can play with anyone, and that is why I put Sergio with those guys and Paul Lawrie.”

And if he was identifying McDowell and Garcia as key members of the team, he had special praise for McIlroy.

“It's important to have the best players on your team,” he said. “Obviously we have the World Number One and he's playing great.  The way he's played the last few months, he's been outstanding.

“I would say that he is at this moment very close to how good Tiger was at that stretch of time between '99 and 2002, the way he's playing.  He's full of confidence.  He's got the whole game, and in that regard, it's great to have players like that on your team.”

Olazábal is sure to mix things up over the next few days as he works out his best pairings, but already the passion for the European cause is coming to the fore, a passion instilled by the first continentals with Seve  Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido paving the way, and carried on by the likes of Bernhard Langer and other passionate Spaniards such as José Rivero, José María Cañizares and Manual Piñero.

“We have a continent, and the friendship and the camaraderie that we have on our Tour is big and I think that that's why we are so passionate about this event.

“It gets us together once every two years.  We let our defences down for this week.  We try to get as close as possible to each other, and that's why the Ryder Cup is so beautiful.”

Get Adobe Flash player

Video Editor's ChoiceMore

Latest PhotosMore

  • European Tour CEO Keith Pelley presents the Ryder Cup trophy to Italy
  • European Tour CEO Keith Pelley (R) congratulating Italy on their successful Ryder Cup bid
  • (L-R) European Tour CEO Keith Pelley and Italian Golf Federation President Franco Chimenti shake the hands after signing the agreement before the Ryder Cup 2022 press conference at Foro Italico
  • Packed conference at the Coni Building in Rome
  • US Ryder Cup Vice Captains
  • Davis Love III and Darren Clarke address the media during the 2016 Ryder Cup Captains' Press Conference at Hazeltine National Golf Club
  • Ryder Cup Captains Davis Love III and Darren Clarke
  • Broadcaster Damon Hack, Davis Love III and Darren Clarke on the set of Morning Drive on Golf Channel
  • Darren Clarke and Davis Love III during the 2016 Ryder Cup Captains' Fireside Chat hosted by David Feherty at the Orpheum Theatre
  • Where Legends are Forged
  •  Davis Love III, US Ryder Cup Captain and Darren Clarke, European Ryder Cup Captain
  • The Ryder Cup Trophy
  • Ryder Cup Captains Davis Love III (left) and Darren Clarke pose with the Ryder Cup trophy and a signed golf bag during the 2016 Ryder Cup "Welcome To Minnesota" Breakfast
  • Seve and Ollie
  • Team bag from The 2014 Ryder Cup
  • Billy Murray, Gleneagles Hotel, Douglas Cleeton, The Blairgowrie Golf Club, David Murchie, Chairman, PGA of GB&I, Robin Duncan, Captain, Blairgowrie, P&K Provost Liz Grant, Stuart Wilson, JRC 2014 Captain, Fredrik Lindgren, Gary Silcock, Gleneagles
  •  Jamie Donaldson
  • Jamie Donaldson unveils his plaque on the 15th
  • Jamie Donaldson next to his Ryder Cup plaque at Gleneagles
  • Jamie Donaldson of Wales unveils the Ryder Cup Moment of Victory Plaque

Ryder Cup Official Partners

  • Rolex
  • BMW

Media Centre

Official Partner

Official Suppliers

This website is © The PGA European Tour 1997 - 2016. PGA European Tour, Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey, GU25 4LX. Registered in England No. 1867610.
All rights reserved. No reproduction, distribution or transmission of any information, part or parts of this website by any means whatsoever is permitted without the prior written permission of the PGA European Tour.