RYDER Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal revealed today there was one moment on Sunday when he could sense victory was within reach.
Olazabal told a press conference at Heathrow: “Saturday afternoon was crucial, those last two matches were crucial for the outcome of the cup," he said.
“But it's true on Sunday there was a moment which was quite special. I was standing on the 12th tee waiting for Lee (Westwood) to come on to the tee and I looked at the board and at that point all five matches had already been won by Europe.”
He added: ”Lee came on to the tee and asked how we were doing. I had done my maths and knew we still had a chance of winning it and I had to walk away, I was very emotional at that point."
The Spaniard was even able to take Rory McIlroy's poor time-keeping in his stride. The world number one had read the tee times on his phone in Eastern time, while Medinah operates on Central time, and he was given an escort to the course by a state trooper.
Olazabal added: "Luckily enough a police car was there and he made it on time. It was no surprise at all he managed to win his point."
Olazabal’s experience at the nerve-shredding event quaintly now referred to as ‘The Miracle of Medinah’ should act as a warning to all those wishing to apply for the job as Europe captain. The race to lead the Ryder Cup defence at Gleneagles in two years’ time starts now.
Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Paul Lawrie head the list but Olazabal’s wildly contrasting emotions as Europe launched the greatest fightback in Ryder Cup history serve as a warning.
“It was torture,” said Olazabal. “As captain, it’s all on you but can’t do anything about it, you don’t have any control on the outcome. One minute you’re thinking ‘that’s it, it’s over’ and the next minute it’s ‘hang about we still have a chance’. It’s hell.” McGinley is favourite to get the vote, which takes place in Dubai next January.