AUGUSTA, Ga. – Jose-Maria Olazabal hadn’t made the cut at the Masters since 2014. He hadn’t performed in a golf event since the Masters in November. In different phrases, the 55-year-old former two-time inexperienced jacket winner had no likelihood of even making the cut, proper?
Not so quick. Olazabal did what defending champion and World No. 1 Dustin Johnson couldn’t do. He shot 1-under par on Friday to make the cut.
How good did that really feel to Olazabal?
“It’s like winning the event,” he mentioned with fun.
Olazabal wore navy blue and white, the colours of his childhood idol, buddy and former Ryder Cup companion Seve Ballesteros, who died almost 10 years in the past, on the date of what would have been Seve’s sixty fourth birthday. Together they shaped the most profitable Ryder Cup partnership in the historical past of the competitors.
“I think Seve would be happy. I miss not having him here for a big hug. I’m a little emotional,” Olazabal mentioned. “I have to say wholeheartedly that making the cut has been a primary goal in recent years. When you see the years going by and you don’t get it, it gets tough.”
It had been lengthy sufficient that Olazabal couldn’t keep in mind how lengthy, however he knew it had been some time. The Masters champion in 1994 and 1999 has missed the cut in 9 of the final 11 years. Physical illnesses took away Olazabal’s brilliance – he was unable to play in 2016 – however he felt “good” and “relaxed” and a quick and agency Augusta National for his 32nd begin this week gave him a preventing likelihood.
“When the golf course is playing fast, I’m not hitting 5 woods and 7 woods all day long to the greens,” mentioned Olazabal, whose longest drive on Friday was 271 yards.
He posted 3-over 75 on Thursday and appeared headed for an additional weekend off when he made bogeys at Nos. 3 and 4 to fall to 5 over. But three birdies in a four-hole stretch starting at No. 8 acquired him again to the cut line. A birdie at 15, the place he wedged to 5 toes, gave him a cushion and his first weekend tee time at Augusta National since 2014.
“I know that making the cut is not such an extraordinary thing, but I want to dedicate this accomplishment to him and all those people who have left us over the last year,” Olazabal mentioned, noting amongst others his longtime supervisor Sergio Gomez, who had been coming with him to Augusta since 1985.