Luke Donald has turned to one of the most experienced European Ryder Cuppers for his latest vice captain pick.
Jose Maria Olazabal was announced Wednesday as Donald’s fourth vice captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone in Rome, Italy. The competition is set for Sept. 26-Oct. 1.
The 57-year-old Spaniard represented Europe on seven occasions from 1987 to 2006. He has also been a vice captain three times in 2008, 2010 and 2014. Olazabal also was the captain for the incredible European comeback at Medinah in 2012.
In his seven Ryder Cup appearances as a player, which yielded three wins and a tie in 1989, Olazabal played 31 times, winning 18 of those matches and earning 20.5 points. His partnership with Seve Ballesteros remains one of, if not the, best in Ryder Cup history, as the Spanish duo won 12 points from their 15 outings together.
“With my previous experiences in the Ryder Cup, I am obviously thrilled to be back involved once again,” Olazabal said in a release. “I am really looking forward to feeling that special adrenaline flow, the intensity and the electricity that only the Ryder Cup can bring – I’m really excited to be part of it all again.
“It was a very nice surprise to be asked by Luke. I didn’t expect it but I was delighted when the call came. My role will be the same as the rest of the vice captains, namely to support and help Luke and the 12 players in any way we can, so they can perform at their best and be able to win that trophy back.”
Olazabal joins Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, Italian Edoardo Molinari and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts as vice captains for Donald.
“When you think of Jose Maria Olazabal, you immediately think of the Ryder Cup. He brings amazing passion and I couldn’t be more excited to have him on board,” Donald said. “He was my captain when I last played in the Ryder Cup – at Medinah in 2012 – and I thoroughly enjoyed playing for him that year. He picked me to play number one in the singles, and that was hugely gratifying.”
Olazabal has 33 professional wins worldwide, including 23 on the European Tour from 1986 to 2005. He is best remembered for his two Masters triumphs at Augusta National – in 1994 and 1999 – the second being especially emotional as it came in the wake of fears that rheumatoid arthritis might mean he would never play professionally again.