Olaz­a­bal to make golf come­back at Bri­tish Masters

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

FORMER Ry­der Cup cap­tain Jose Maria Olaz­a­bal has an­nounced that he will re­turn to ac­tion in this week’s Bri­tish Masters at The Grove.

Two-time Masters cham­pion Olaz­a­bal has not played com­pet­i­tive golf since the sec­ond round at Au­gusta Na­tional last year due to pain in his joints caused by rheuma­toid arthri­tis.

The 50-year-old Spa­niard has suf­fered from sim­i­lar prob­lems sev­eral times in his ca­reer and feared he might be con­fined to a wheel­chair af­ter miss­ing the 1996 Masters and sub­se­quently be­ing side­lined for 18 months.

“I am very ex­cited to com­pete again,” Olaz­a­bal said. “I want to see how the body can cope with the reg­u­lar com­pe­ti­tion, rhythm of prac­tice and 18 holes. Lately, I’ve played 18 holes two days, nine holes an­other two days - I’ve been al­ter­nat­ing that way.

“The two weeks at the Bri­tish Masters and Por­tu­gal Masters will be a good test to see if I can stand up all day. I want to see how it goes dur­ing the two weeks and that will help me to take a de­ci­sion on whether I will keep on play­ing the Euro­pean Tour or the se­nior cir­cuit next sea­son. We’ll see how it goes.

“The prob­lem is due to an in­flam­ma­tion of the ex­trem­i­ties of the ten­dons and it’s been a long process of re­cov­ery. I hit rock bot­tom last De­cem­ber and started im­prov­ing slowly from Jan­uary.

“Al­though I’m feel­ing bet­ter, I’m still not at 100 per cent. The pain is not so bad now, it gets a bit painful from time to time but I think that’s just get­ting old!” – The In­de­pen­dent

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