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Jose Maria Olozabal to lead Europe in 2012

No surprises but Spaniard will be a popular choice as skipper.

Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

JOSE MARIA OLASABAL has been named captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup team this morning.

The Spaniard is one of the greatest Ryder Cup partnerships of all time – with Seve Ballesteros. He will be a popular choice to lead the visitors to Chicago next year.

He said the appointment ranked amongst his best achievements: “The two Masters wins at Augusta National are the highlight of my playing career,” he said, “But this is my proudest moment.”

Golf has been my life and representing Europe in the Ryder Cup has given me so much enjoyment.

So to be named the European Ryder Cup captain is something very special and I am looking forward to the next 20 months before we reach Medinah.

Without question the Ryder Cup has given me many memorable times.

Olazabal was a strong favourite for the post since Colin Motgomerie stepped down in the wake of the single-point defeat of the US at Cletic Manor on October.

He has played in seven Ryder Cups and been vice-captain twice, losing only 10 times out of 31 matches as a player.

Britain’s world number one Lee Westwood said:

“He will bring leadership, experience and passion, and is going to be fantastic when he leads the team.”

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The 44-year-old was the unanimous choice among Europe’s leading players.

An off-duty Olazabal famously stepped in to fill a vice-captain role at the request of skipper Colin Montgomerie on the second day of last year’s tournament as heavy rain caused a change to the event format.

Corey Pavin’s successor as American captain will be unveiled on Thursday. It is firmly expected to be Davis Love.

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