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March 30 2011

4:18 PM

Ryder Cup captains paired in Houston

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2012 Ryder Cup captains Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III will tee it up together in Rounds 1 and 2.

HUMBLE, Texas -- No bragging rights. Really. None.

That’s what European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal said about his Thursday-Friday pairing with U.S. captain Davis Love III. Just fun and golf. Nothing else.

What will he be paying attention to at this week’s SHO? Just about everything.

Slowly but surely, Olazabal is returning to form after being sidelined much of last year with a recurrance of his rheumatoid arthritis and a back problem.

“Well (I’’m) not a hundred percent,’’ he said. “Still the right arm hurts a little bit, but the rest of the body is feeling better.

“At this point it's more down to, you know, practice a little bit and play a few events, you know, to, again get the feel of competition, playing in tournament conditions which are completely different to what we practice on, obviously tougher conditions being in a tournament. Just get back to the playing rhythm of competition. I think that will help as well, first of all, to know where my game is and to improve from there.’’

Nothing specific, he said. Rather everything in general.

“I would say pretty much everything needs a little bit tuning up,’’ he said. “Kind of really, you know, one day could be the driver, next day could be the putting. That's how it's been last three, four weeks. It's not one particular area that is really weak. I think overall it's everything is a little bit off.’’

As for the current world rankings? With Europeans in the top four spots and five of the top seven? He grinned, but said it’s all cyclical. It wasn’t long ago, he pointed out, that he, Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo were all in the top.

Plus, he said, the Ryder Cup is a year and a half away. He still grinned. -- Melanie Hauser

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