The Masters: Jose Maria Olazabal's friends 'in shock' after he made cut for first time in seven years
"It was pretty much unexpected after seven years of not making the cut. I don't think many people would expect me to make the cut, and they were all happy"
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 10/04/21 10:59pm
Jose Maria Olazabal revealed he has been inundated with messages from people "in a state of shock" he made the cut at the Masters this week.
Olazabal had not played the weekend at Augusta National since 2014, and came into this week having not played any competitive golf since the Masters in November last year.
But the two-time champion defied even his own expectations as he recovered with an opening 75 with a second-round 71 to make the cut with a shot to spare on two over par, and he was going nicely early on day three until enduring a tough closing stretch.
The 55-year-old was one under for the day until he found water at the 15th and ran up a double-bogey seven, and he dropped shots on each of the next two holes in a 75 that saw him slide to five over for the tournament.
But Olazabal remained in good spirits afterwards as he reflected on the surprise reactions to him getting to play another 36 holes when the likes of defending champion Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy both crashed out.
"I think they were all in a state of shock, I have to say, most of them," said the 1994 and 1999 winner. "Nobody expected it, and that's why I got so many messages. 'Oh, you made it. You made it'. That was it, but they were all pretty happy.
"As I said, it was pretty much unexpected after seven years of not making the cut. I don't think many people would expect me to make the cut, and they were all happy."
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Olazabal continues to be inspired by Seve Ballesteros as the 10th anniversary of the legendary Spaniard's untimely passing approaches, and Friday would have been his 64th birthday.
"Yesterday was a special day, I had that in my mind," Olazabal added. "In those days, they're always special when you experience moments like I have close with him at the Ryder Cup, big events, the way he treated me all through the years, you know, those days are truly special.
"And I miss him, I have to say, especially around here, because I know that he would be enjoying every part of being here."
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As for how long Olazabal can continue to compete in the Masters, he admitted the length of the course was a concern for him and hinted he was unlikely to follow the likes of Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam and play on into their 60s.
"The game will dictate, it's as simple as that," he said. "The game will tell you when you have to stop. It's true that you see guys like Bernard and Larry (Mize) and Sandy and Woosie playing here, but in these type of conditions, maybe we can still put up a decent score.
"But if the golf course is long and wet, we're going to struggle because even with these fast conditions, I'm hitting a lot of woods into the par-fours and that makes it a little more difficult."