Friday 20 April 2018

Winning the Ryder Cup meant everything to captain Olazabal, says rookie Colsaerts

Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal with the Ryder Cup during a press conference in London
Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal with the Ryder Cup during a press conference in London

Mark Bryans

NICOLAS Colsaerts has revealed the whole of Europe's successful Ryder Cup team knew exactly what retaining the trophy would mean to their captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

Olazabal, who selected Belgian Colsaerts as one of his two wildcards, has a long history with the competition and featured in the match seven times as a player.

The 46-year-old oversaw the biggest fightback in the history of the Ryder Cup at the weekend as Europe recovered from a 10-6 deficit against the United States to win in extraordinary circumstances at Medinah.

Colsaerts, 29, was the only rookie on the European team but was aware of what winning the competition meant to his captain.

He said: "As everybody knows Jose is a very passionate man and has an unbelievable size of heart.

"He has lived for this game all of his life and more than anything this competition.

"He made clear to us that this thing was going to be very, very, very special to him so everybody looked at each other and understood the importance of this cup in this man's life."

Colsaerts, who became the first Belgian to represent his country in the competition, also acknowledged that the memory of Olazabal's late friend and countryman Seve Ballesteros last year spurred the team on.

"At some stage during the week when you look in this guy's eyes I would say it was pretty intense, just as much as he showed whenever he played," he said.

"Every time he went out with Seve in this tournament everyone would say these two men were very, very special and how big of a deal this cup was in their lives."

Colsaerts described his call-up to the team as an "emotional ride" and was delighted to discover the team ethos among a group of men who are used to competing against each other as individuals.

He said: "This is an unbelievable experience, I feel so lucky that I was given the chance to be part of an emotional ride.

"From trying to get into the team, to the announcement, to thinking what it was going to be like.

"We don't really get a chance to play this format very often so we do have a bit of a security barrier when we play individual tournaments.

"When everyone turns up in the team-room everyone speaks their hearts out, from my perspective I got to understand all of the other guys I have played golf with for years. I really got to understand the real personalities of them.

"This was 12 great men together, when you have different nationalities coming together like that, German and Swedish and then a bunch of the English boys and some Latin players as well, everything works well together because 12 guys work in the same direction for the same main reason - bring this thing back home."

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport