Olazabal won't return as Ryder Cup captain
LONDON (AP) — Describing the role as “torture” at times, victorious Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal ruled out the possibility of staying on for the 2014 competition at Gleneagles.
The Spaniard returned to Europe on Monday night, cradling the gleaming golden trophy and still reveling in Europe’s stirring rally over the United States at Medinah on Sunday.
Spain’s King Juan Carlos and tennis star Rafael Nadal were among those who sent Olazabal messages of congratulations after the 14½-13½ win that kept the cup in European hands.
But after seven matches as a player — during which he teamed up so effectively with the late Seve Ballesteros — and now another as a winning captain, he has come to the end of his 25-year Ryder Cup career.
“I can assure you it will be a no, period,” Olazabal said when asked if he would stay on. “It’s a lot of work … it takes a lot out of you for a stretch of time. It is difficult. In a way, it’s torture.
“On top of that, there are a lot of players who should have the opportunity to be in my spot. The Ryder Cup is only played once every two years and there are a big number of players that have the chance to be in my position. I won’t do it again.”
Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, two of Olazabal’s four assistants in Medinah, are early favorites to take over.
A decision will be made in January by the European Tour’s tournament committee, headed by Thomas Bjorn, another of Olaz-abal’s assistants.
“I think these two (Clarke and McGinley) deserve a chance but I think Thomas deserves a chance and also Paul Lawrie,” Olazabal said. “Once those guys do it, we have Lee (Westwood), Padraig (Harrington).
“We have at least eight or nine guys that have the chance and there only a certain number of Ryder Cups. It would be hard to name just one or two.”
And what about Ian Poulter?
The Englishman won a match-high four points in Medinah, including one in Saturday’s fourballs that Olazabal considers the most important of them all.
The win brought Europe within 10–6 and gave the team crucial momentum heading into Sunday.
Poulter now has the best winning record of any European who has played more than two Ryder Cups and his passion for the event has seen him described as the “modern-day Seve.”
“He will be a wonderful captain for sure,” Olazabal said. “But he will need another 12 players just like him.”