Olazábal targets a shift in momentum
José María Olazábal believes Nicolas Colsaerts and Lee Westwood’s victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker could help change the momentum back in Europe’s favour, as his Team ended the first day of the 2012 Ryder Cup with a two point deficit against the United States.
Olazábal reserved special praise for the contribution of Colsaerts, who fired eight birdies and an eagle in one of the most spectacular debuts in the history of The Ryder Cup.
“That round of golf, with eight birdies and an eagle, playing against Tiger and Steve, and being a rookie, it's an impressive round,” said Olazábal. “He had one of those days that he will remember for the rest of his life.”
Despite losing the afternoon Fourballs session 3-1, Olazábal remains confident that the outcome of that match can help spark a turnaround momentum as Europe seeks to retain The Ryder Cup.
“Obviously it was not the day we were expecting, especially in the afternoon,” he said. “I think we did okay in the morning session. Foursomes is not an easy format, and to go 2 2, I think we were pretty happy about it.
“In the afternoon session things didn't go our way. I think we faced two really hot pairings in the first two matches. Bubba (Watson) and Webb (Simpson) played extraordinary well. And then in the second group, I think Keegan (Bradley) was really hot today. He was full of confidence. He played extraordinary golf.
“We lost those two matches and made the afternoon session a little bit difficult for us.
“Regarding the last match, Nicolas did something really special today. I think it's been the best scoring for a rookie in the history of The Ryder Cup. So it was quite an impressive performance, and it was a huge point for us. The way the session went, losing the first three matches, to win that last point, it made a big difference for the afternoon.
“Tomorrow, the first two matches are going to be really tough. We have Webb and Bubba, and Keegan and Phil (Mickelson) in those first two matches. I’ve tried to put all the guns in there for tomorrow morning. We do have to change the momentum. We need to have a great day tomorrow, in both the morning and afternoon sessions. And that's what we are aiming for.”
United States Captain Davis Love III was understandably satisfied with his own Team’s afternoon, singling out the contribution of Watson and Simpson.
“It was very entertaining,” he said. “There was a lot of noise this afternoon. It was kind of quiet this morning.
“I think both teams came out in the cold, a little windier than we thought, and it seems like both teams were a little scratchy right off the bat. But our team hung in there really well. They came back from being down in three games, which I think it stunned the fans a little bit.
“It took a little bit of run going on the back nine in the morning session, and then it took Bubba and Webb to get them going right out of the gate in the afternoon. That really started the ball rolling.”