Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Masters Profile: Jose Maria Olazabal

On February 5th, 1966, Jose Maria Olazabal was born in Fuenterrabia, Spain and a day later opened the 18-hole course at Real Golf Club de San Sebastian, where his father, Gaspar, apprenticed under his grandfather before becoming Head Greenskeeper. At Real, Jose Maria, or “Chemma” as his mother knew him, was able to learn his craft at a very young age, hitting balls at age 2 and graduating to 18-hole play by age 6.

Despite a career that included 28 Tour victories (22 European, 6 PGA) and 7 Ryder Cup memberships, the Spaniard Olazabal arguably achieved his greatest success at Augusta in 1994 and 1999, joining fellow countryman Seve Ballesteros as a multiple-winner of the Masters (14th overall).

Since winning his last green jacket, it’s been feast or famine for Jose Maria with 3 Top-10s and 3 missed cuts at Augusta. His 2008 season was plagued by rheumatism in his feet, a condition that has beleaguered him even during his victory in 1999.

Vital Masters Stats for Jose Maria Olazabal:

# of Masters Appearances: 21
Best Finish (1st – 1994, 1999)
Top-10 finishes: (7) 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006

IB18’s Projection at 2009 Masters: Makes Cut, might creep into top-30.

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