January 18 2011
Today’s announcement that Jose Maria Olazabal will be the upcoming European Ryder Cup captain certainly drew raves from the players he'll be leading when the matches are played in 2012 at Medinah.
Granted, it may have been the worst kept secret in golf. Or maybe that will actually be "uncovered" Thursday when we expect to learn that Davis Love III will be Olazabal's U.S. counterpart.
For now, though, the praise for Olazabal, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009, keeps coming.
"I think it's awesome," Ian Poulter said. "... He has everybody's attention from start to finish. He's very thoughtful. He's very passionate, and everything he says is very valid. He's got more passion than anyone else for The Ryder Cup, and that says everything."
Olazabal and his compatriot Seve Ballesteros are generally regarded as Europe's premier Ryder Cup players. Olazabal, who played in seven matches, has served as vice captain each of the last two Cups.
"You just have to do rerun after rerun of Seve and Ollie just to know that it means everything to him, and that's all you really need from a captain," Poulter said. "So he will just do an incredible job."
U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell said Olazabal was a big part of the reason he played so well in his debut at Valhalla. The Northern Irishman compiled a 2-1-1 record in a losing effort that year.
"He kind of took me under his wing that week," McDowell said. "A couple of the big highlights of Valhalla in the team room were speeches that José made. He's a very honest, very emotional, very open guy. I got to know him very well that week, and you know, he's just a legend regards his playing capabilities and the kind of person that he is, as well.
"So I think he's going to be a great Ryder Cup captain. He's a perfect captain for the states. He's loved all over the world, and obviously two-time Masters Champion. I think he's going to be a great talisman for the European Ryder Cup Team."
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