Post Four-Ball Interview With: JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL
22 September 2006
SCOTT CROCKETT: José Maria, thank you very much for stepping off the golf course to come in and join us. Fantastic performance this morning, you and Sergio, you must have been delighted with the way you played, and also a point. Give us your thoughts on the morning.
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: It was a great morning, after seven years, not on the tee, walking to the first tee, that was very emotional. I didn't forget how warm the crowds could be, but today was a very special one.
A lovely day, playing alongside Sergio. It was fantastic to be honest. The way he played was awesome. He played at a great level. He didn't miss virtually no shots all day long. We worked together very well. Whenever he missed a couple of shots, I was there for him, and at the end of the day, a good point for the European side.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Everyone always in Ryder Cup history talks about another Spanish partnership involving yourself. Is this the threshold of another one?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: I'm running out of years (laughing). We'll see. We'll see. As I said, it was really nice to play with Sergio and it was beautiful to be part of the team again. I know Darren was very emotional.
Q. Were you disappointed not playing this afternoon, the foursomes?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, actually, I wasn't. I think for the foursomes, you need a consistent, two solid players that hit the ball quite straight. I think that is key playing foursomes, and in that regard, I think Woosie made the right choice.
Q. Inevitably people draw comparisons with your association with Seve and the partnership you used to have. Can you compare and contrast the way you felt playing with Sergio today with the way you used to feel playing with Seve?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, it's different. It's different in the sense that, you know, Seve and I, we're pretty much similar. We were when we're off the tee, we had to counteract that with a lot of guts and heart. Playing alongside Sergio, it's like watching golf at its best. He played extremely well. He drove the ball very straight. He rarely missed a shot. You know, he's just a different situation.
But I have to say, it's a more relaxing one (laughter). Not so much excitement maybe.
Q. Might I ask you which ride you prefer, the adrenaline rush with Seve or playing with Sergio?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: As long as I win the point, I don't mind. It's just different. You know, I wouldn't change all my experiences with Seve, you know, for anything.
But having said that, you know, playing alongside Sergio, the way he played today, he's as wonderful, too.
Q. Does it mean you have perhaps more energy left in the tank if you play with Sergio and it's more relaxing rather than
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, there is somehow less stress obviously. You know, when you see your partner splitting every fairway and hitting good shots to the green, somehow you're more relaxed. You don't have to use that extra energy that you might have to, if it was the other case.
Q. Can you talk a bit about your relationship with Sergio since he came on the Tour?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, Sergio mainly has played in the States. You know, it's not like he played a lot of seasons on The European Tour. In that regard, he's quite a bit younger than I am. But I've felt much closer to him the last few years, and I think that is a good thing. I think he matured the last few years. I think he's been closer to the peers, especially the countrymen. And I think you can see that when we played today. We were very close, we understood each other very well, and you know, I think that is a positive thing for him and for the rest of the team, too.
Q. When you looked at the pairings last night, I just wonder what you thought might come out this morning, 2½ to 1½, did you expect that?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: I was thinking it would be pretty much 2 2 to be honest. You know, the first match and the last match, they were very, very strong.
I thought that the middle matches, I thought we could win those two matches, and then the other two, it would be like flipping a coin. And at the end, Lee and Darren managed to win. I think they managed to beat a team that has not been beaten yet, no? I think their record, Phil and Chris, I think nobody has beaten them before.
Q. And obviously for the team being up 2½ to 1½?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Yeah, as long as you're ahead, that's positive, it's very hard.
Q. You're obviously emotional and it was very important for you to get back on this team and represent Europe. When did you start mentally and emotionally getting prepared so that you could put yourself in a position to gain the position that you would be back on the team eventually?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, I think, you know, time takes care of that. In my case, you don't have to do anything extra to really be prepared or, you know, get your adrenaline level higher just for playing the matches. It comes along with the atmosphere and the event itself. Pretty much this week as days go by and we got closer to today, you know, the system starts to act by itself. You don't have to do anything special for that.
Q. Were you aware of the other matches, how they were going, and if so, if you knew that Monty and Padraig were losing, and if so, how important was it for you guys to get a point on the board?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Yeah, I like to keep an eye on the leaderboard. I don't see anything wrong with that, to see how the boys were doing.
We knew it was a tough match. At one stage I thought they were even going to turn the thing around. They were 3 down and all of a sudden I saw them 1 down and playing the last hole.
It's important, you know, you have to really concentrate on your point. You cannot do anything about the other guys playing on the golf course. But obviously it's nice to keep an eye on the leaderboard and see that your partners are doing good. I think that keeps the spirits high.
Q. You have described Sergio's performance as awesome. You've played in a lot of Ryder Cups. Can you give us some sort of idea of how highly you regard that four ball performance, alongside some of the others you've seen? Is that one of the best you've ever witnessed?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, I've had great days with Seve to be honest. But the way he played today, I think it was pretty much 6 under par on 16 holes, and that was like, not missing, he hit three or four lovely putts from nine or ten feet that the ball touched the hole and didn't go in. It could have been easily 8 under par.
So that is a performance that, you know, I think that is up there.
Q. The emotion of today, how does that rate in terms of your previous Ryder Cup experiences and the list of memories?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, it's different, when you're 21 years old and you are playing your first Ryder Cup, you have your whole future ahead of you. You're just happy to be there and you're really nervous. I was shaking like a leaf on the first tee at Muirfield, playing alongside Seve.
The way you see it now, it's different. You know that there's not many more Ryder Cups in you, and you try to enjoy every minute of it. You know you are privileged to be part of it.
In that regard, it's very special. I mean, you try to suck in all of the emotions and try to be aware of everything that is going around you because you know that it's a very special moment. It's one that you always cherish.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you very much.
Sunday Video Recap
Check out all the great highlights from Sunday's European victory. Watch
- 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.