Following Europe’s stunning Ryder Cup comeback victory over the USA in Sunday’s singles matches, team captain José María Olazábal said he was “still riding the wave,” as the victorious team returned to London.
Sitting in a Heathrow Airport conference room with the cup at his side, Olazábal said his phone had not stopped ringing since Tiger Woods missed a putt on the 18th green at the Medinah Country Club, sealing Europe’s win from 10-4 down on the final day. “The king of Spain called me and said he was over the moon like me, so that was nice.”
However, despite the euphoria generated by a tournament record-matching comeback, Olazábal stated he would not lead Europe as it attempts to win a hat-trick of victories at Gleneagles in 2014. Asked if he would like to repeat the experience, the two-time major winner replied: “In a way, yes, but I can assure you that is going to be a no. First of all it’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of you during the stretch of time from when you’re named captain to the playing of the Ryder Cup.
“It’s played once every two years and there are many players who deserve the chance to be in my position, so clearly I won’t do it again.”
Olazábal played up the candidacies of his vice-captains at Medinah — Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Thomas Björn — but added there are “eight or nine players who have a chance to do it. It would be unfair of me to name just one and I will leave it up to the PGA, but all of them deserve the position.”
Olazábal said that during the tense final round, he sought inspiration in the forms of Severiano Ballesteros and Pep Guardiola.
“It was torture, you can’t do anything. As you are not playing you have no control over the result. Watching the games and seeing the players hitting their shots is like being in hell,” he said.
However, Olazábal’s intensity carried Europe through, according to Belgian rookie Nicholas Colsaerts who, paired with Lee Westwood, grabbed a point in Friday’s fourballs. “He’s got an unbelievably sized heart. He lived for this game all of his life and he made clear to us that this thing was going to be very special to him so everyone looked at each other and understood the importance of the cup in this man’s life,” Colsaerts said. “When you look in this guy’s eyes, it’s pretty intense.”