Olazabal Interview

Thanks to reader Phillip for the heads up on this Donald McRae interview with Jose Maria Olazabal, who talks about the state of the game, his health problems (and comeback) and about Seve.

I shared rooms with older Spanish players like [José María] Cañizares, [José] Rivero and [Manuel] Piñero. They were like gods to me and I tried to soak up all their knowledge. None of this would happen today. There were no sponsors for young players then, no courtesy cars or practice balls. That's why we shared rooms and cars and developed this great camaraderie. Our minds were a lot more open than the average professional today. We were a lot poorer but our lives were much richer.

But these are also sentimental memories. You know how it is - the first cars or planes look fantastic but they are no longer practical. The world moves on and some of these 22-year-olds don't even know we played with wooden drivers. I'm not saying golf was a better game 20 years ago, just very different. But I would love to see two or three events a year, when the season's over, played with the old equipment and the original golf ball. You wonder how some of these young guys would cope.

We didn't have that cockiness you see in Sergio García. There is a generation between us. I was more interested in golfing tradition while he does things his way. But maybe he's maturing and becoming closer to people. That will help him - not just as a golfer but as a person.

With that lovely short game and his great length off the tee, [García] has the best chance of all the Europeans to win a major. But there are not too many more lonely places than walking those last nine holes on a Sunday afternoon when you're trying to win the Masters. You are surrounded by people but, deep inside, you are in a very isolated place. I still think some of the young guys, like Sergio, need to understand that.