independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

US got carried away by their huge lead, says Olazabal

Team Europe celebrate after their victory in the Ryder Cup

EUROPE’S Ryder Cup-winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal believes the huge lead held by the United States could have led to their downfall.

Olazabal masterminded a record-breaking comeback for Europe, who were 10-4 behind at one point on Saturday before storming back to retain the trophy.



Europe went into the single's competition on Sunday four points behind but took eight-and-a-half points from 12 to bring the trophy home from Medinah.



Olazabal insists the growing pressure on the United States as Europe closed the gap could have made all the difference.



He said: "When you are leading, and you are leading with a comfortable margin, sometimes it is very hard to finish the job and the pressure is on you.



"For us, I told the boys 'just go out there and play your best and we have nothing to lose'. It is a different approach and I think that might have been a difference coming down the stretch.



"All of a sudden the United States team, from pretty much thinking the trophy was in their pocket, they found themselves thinking 'we have to win this match, we have to win this match' and that is different."



Olazabal has always cherished the memories of competing in the Ryder Cup and feels that the competition is unique.



"It is a huge adrenaline flow and that is what we live for to be honest," he said.



"I said it in the United States, if you have those last three holes - 16, 17 and 18 - without a soul in there watching it doesn't have any meaning at all.



"That is the beauty of the Ryder Cup, the atmosphere, the pressure, the tension, the adrenaline flow, that is what makes us feel alive."



The 46-year-old also said he would leave all of the speculating as to where the comeback ranks in the annals of sporting achievements.



"I don't know if it is a miracle but it is something extraordinary, we haven't seen that before," he said.



"What the players achieved that day was just amazing, it is up to you to decide if it is the greatest moment or the greatest comeback in history but they (the players) deserve all the credit."



Olazabal confirmed he will not return to captain Europe for the next Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014 but has not given up hope of making the team.



"I don't know, it is two years from now," he said.



"Would I love it? Yes, without a doubt. But after seeing the level of the play last week and the level of these guys when they play week in, week out I would have to raise my game quite a few notches.



"I'm going to work hard on my game and see if I can be competitive again but that would be wonderful, to play in another Ryder Cup would be fantastic."



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