• Ryder Cup

Olazabal: My greatest moment

ESPN staff
October 1, 2012

Jose Maria Olazabal believes winning the Ryder Cup as a captain is the greatest moment of his golfing career.

Olazabal, who won two Masters titles and was part of numerous Ryder Cup successes during an illustrious playing career, believes overseeing Europe's comeback victory at Medinah Country Club on Sunday - clinched at the death by Martin Kaymer - now trumps anything else he has achieved in the sport.

"In my career, I think this ranks No. 1." Olazabal told Sky Sports. "It is going to take a little while for it to completely sink in. All credit to the players.

"I think if someone had to write a script for it that would be the ideal one. For it to happen, Seve [Ballesteros] had to have something to do with it."

The legacy of Ballesteros, who died in 2011, was honoured by Olazabal throughout the week. The late Spaniard loved the Ryder Cup, and Olazabal - one of Ballesteros's preferred partners when both played in the event - was delighted to get a victory for the much-missed European Tour icon.

"Obviously Seve has been on my mind the whole week, actually on the whole journey of the Ryder Cup," Olazabal said. "I had Seve in my mind every day and when we managed to retain the trophy, all those memories were very vividly coming to life."

On the experience of captaining, Olazabal admitted it was unlike anything he had previously come across in seven appearances as a player in the event.

"It's completely different to playing," he said. "All I can see is it has been a very emotional week, it's been a very tough week - especially in the beginning when things weren't really going our way, but yesterday everything turned around for us.

"We had a great day - our players made the putts and had the right breaks at the right time. We changed a couple of matches down the stretch that I think were crucial, and that enabled us to have this trophy back."

The 46-year-old pinpointed Saturday's fourballs session - which saw Ian Poulter single-handedly claim a crucial point as the United States threatened to build an insurmountable lead - as the turning point in the competition, as it paved the way for the historic comeback that was to come.

"The most important part of it was Saturday afternoon - that session was crucial," he noted. "I think the players got the feeling of the atmosphere of the Ryder Cup down the stretch. We managed to turn the tide in that session and give us the chance [to comeback.

"It changed the whole context of the Ryder Cup."

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