José María Olazábal

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José María Olazábal
KLM Open 2009 Olazabal.JPG
Personal information
Full nameJosé María Olazábal Manterola
Born (1966-02-05) 5 February 1966 (age 56)
Fuenterrabía, Guipúzcoa, Spain
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight160 lb (73 kg; 11 st)
Sporting nationality Spain
ResidenceHondarribia, Guipúzcoa, Spain
Turned professional1985
Current tour(s)PGA Tour Champions
European Senior Tour
PGA Tour
European Tour
Professional wins30
Highest ranking2 (17 March 1991)[1]
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour6
European Tour23 (9th all time)
Japan Golf Tour2
Asian Tour1
Best results in major championships
(wins: 2)
Masters TournamentWon: 1994, 1999
PGA ChampionshipT4: 2000
U.S. OpenT8: 1990, 1991
The Open Championship3rd/T3: 1992, 2005
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame2009 (member page)
Sir Henry Cotton
Rookie of the Year
Prince of Asturias Award2013

José María Olazábal Manterola (Spanish pronunciation: [xoˈse maˈɾia olaˈθaβal manteˈɾola], Basque: [olas̻abal]; born 5 February 1966) is a Spanish professional golfer from the Basque region who has enjoyed success on both the European Tour and the PGA Tour, and has won two major championships, both at The Masters.

In 2012 he captained Europe's Ryder Cup team to a narrow victory over the US, which seemed improbable at the start of the final day's play when the Europeans trailed 10–6. They came back to win 14½–13½.[2]

Early life[edit]

Olazábal was born in Hondarribia, a town in the Basque autonomous region of Spain, the day after the golf course Real Golf Club de San Sebastian opened next to his family's home. His father Gaspar succeeded his grandfather as greenskeeper at the golf club, where his mother also worked. Olazábal began to hit golf balls at age 2 with a shortened club, and at age 6 he could practice on the course in late afternoons.[3]

Amateur career[edit]

As an amateur, he represented Spain on all levels. He represented Spain in competing in the Eisenhower Trophy at 16 years of age in 1982, and again two years later, in 1984.

In 1983, he won the Boys Amateur Championship at Glenbervie Golf Club, Scotland, and in 1984, he won The Amateur Championship at Formby Golf Club, Liverpool, England, at age 18, beating Colin Montgomerie 5 and 4 in the final. The year after, when he won the British Youths Open Amateur Championship, at Ganton Golf Club, England, he became the first player to have won the British Boy's, Youth's and Amateur titles in a career.[4]

At the 1985 European Amateur Team Championship in Halmstad, Sweden, Olazabal made a hole-in-one at the 13th hole on his way to winning 3 and 2 against Colin Montgomerie in the semi final between Spain and Scotland. However, Scotland went on to win the team tournament.[5]

The month before his British Youths title, Olazábal, finished tied 25th and low amateur at the 1985 Open Championship in tough conditions at Royal St George's Golf Club in Sandwich, England.

Professional career[edit]

In his rookie professional season of 1986, he finished second on the European Tour Order of Merit aged 20. In his first nine seasons, he finished in the top 10 every year except two, including another second place in 1989. He was unable to play in 1996 due to a foot injury but he recovered and recorded further top 10 placings in the Order of Merit in 1997, 1999 and 2000.

He has won 23 career titles on the European Tour, which is ninth best all-time.

He was in the world top 10 for over 300 weeks between 1989 and 1995.[6] Had Olazábal beaten Ian Woosnam at the 1991 Masters Tournament (he finished second) he would have become the World No. 1.[citation needed]

In 1990, Olazábal made a, at the time, rare visit to the PGA Tour, invited in a limited field to the NEC World Series of Golf at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. He opened with a course record 61, continued with aggregate course and tournament records after every round and finished with an 18-under 262 total, 12 strokes ahead of second placed Lanny Wadkins. After congratulating Olazábal, Wadkins joked that he wished Olazábal back to Europe immediately.[7]

Both of Olazábal's majors have come in the United States, namely The Masters in 1994 and 1999.[8][9] These wins make him one of only two winners of the Amateur Championship since World War II to have gone on to win a professional major. He has been highly placed in The Masters on a number of other occasions. Olazábal shares the record for the lowest round in the PGA Championship (63), which he accomplished in the third round at Valhalla Golf Club in 2000.[10]

In 2001, Olazábal began to play on the PGA Tour, while also retaining his membership of the European Tour. He had a solid year on the PGA Tour in 2002, when he won nearly $2 million and came 24th on the money list, but has not duplicated the success he enjoyed in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s.[11] He has six career PGA Tour titles, five of them won before he became a full member of the Tour. In 2006, he made a return to the top 15 of the world rankings.

José María Olazábal (in the bunker)

Olazábal was a member of Europe's Ryder Cup team seven times from 1987 to 2006. He formed a famous partnership with fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros that spanned many years,[12] and formed a similarly successful partnership with Sergio García in 2006.

Olazábal captained the European team at the 2012 Ryder Cup for the defence of the trophy at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.[13] After his team went down 10–4 during the second day and 10–6 going into the last day, he helped engineer the greatest ever Ryder Cup comeback with the European team eventually winning by 14½ points to 13½.[14] Olazábal was very emotional with the win, saying in an interview that that was his number one happiest golf moment and happiest moment of his life. The win was inspired by his late friend Seve Ballesteros, to whom he dedicated the win.[2] He confirmed afterwards that he would not consider himself for captaincy in the next Ryder Cup.

Olazábal holds the world record distance for a completed putt. During the 1999 European Ryder Cup team's Concorde flight to the United States, he holed a putt which travelled the full length of the cabin. The ball was in motion for 26.17s, during which time the Concorde, at 1,270 mph, traveled 9.232 miles, beating U.S. golfer Brad Faxon's previous record of 8.5 miles, set in 1997.[15]

Olazábal was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009 with 56% of the vote on the international ballot.[16]

On 19 June 2013, Olazábal was presented with Spain's most prestigious sporting honor, the Prince of Asturias Award in recognition of his accomplishments as a player and leader of the 2012 Ryder Cup team. He is only the second golfer to be honored since the awards were launched in 1987; Seve Ballesteros was honored in 1989.[17]

Amateur wins[edit]

Professional wins (30)[edit]

PGA Tour wins (6)[edit]

Major championships (2)
Other PGA Tour (4)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 26 Aug 1990 NEC World Series of Golf −18 (61-67-67-67=262) 12 strokes United States Lanny Wadkins
2 18 Aug 1991 The International 10 pts (5-6-8-10=10) 3 points Australia Ian Baker-Finch, United States Scott Gump,
United States Bob Lohr
3 10 Apr 1994 Masters Tournament −9 (74-67-69-69=279) 2 strokes United States Tom Lehman
4 28 Aug 1994 NEC World Series of Golf (2) −11 (66-67-69-67=269) 1 stroke United States Scott Hoch
5 11 Apr 1999 Masters Tournament (2) −8 (70-66-73-71=280) 2 strokes United States Davis Love III
6 10 Feb 2002 Buick Invitational −13 (71-72-67-65=275) 1 stroke United States J. L. Lewis, United States Mark O'Meara

PGA Tour playoff record (0–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponents Result
1 2005 BellSouth Classic India Arjun Atwal, United States Rich Beem,
United States Brandt Jobe, United States Phil Mickelson
Mickelson won with birdie on fourth extra hole
Olazábal eliminated by par on third hole
Atwal and Jobe eliminated by par on first hole
2 2006 Buick Invitational Australia Nathan Green, United States Tiger Woods Woods won with par on second extra hole
Green eliminated by par on first hole

European Tour wins (23)[edit]

Major championships (2)
Volvo PGA Championships (1)
Other European Tour (20)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 7 Sep 1986 Ebel European Masters Swiss Open −26 (64-66-66-66=262) 3 strokes Sweden Anders Forsbrand
2 12 Oct 1986 Sanyo Open −15 (69-68-69-67=273) 3 strokes England Howard Clark
3 19 Jun 1988 Volvo Belgian Open −15 (67-69-64-69=269) 4 strokes United States Mike Smith
4 25 Sep 1988 German Masters −9 (69-72-70-68=279) 2 strokes Sweden Anders Forsbrand, Republic of Ireland Des Smyth
5 26 Feb 1989 Tenerife Open −13 (69-68-68-70=275) 3 strokes Spain José María Cañizares
6 30 Jul 1989 KLM Dutch Open −11 (67-66-68-76=277) Playoff England Roger Chapman, Northern Ireland Ronan Rafferty
7 7 May 1990 Benson & Hedges International Open −9 (69-68-69-73=279) 1 stroke Wales Ian Woosnam
8 24 Jun 1990 Carroll's Irish Open −6 (67-72-71-72=282) 3 strokes United States Mark Calcavecchia, New Zealand Frank Nobilo
9 16 Sep 1990 Trophée Lancôme −11 (68-66-70-65=269) 1 stroke Scotland Colin Montgomerie
10 17 Mar 1991 Open Catalonia −17 (66-68-64-73=271) 6 strokes Northern Ireland David Feherty
11 22 Sep 1991 Epson Grand Prix of Europe −19 (64-68-67-66=265) 9 strokes England Mark James
12 23 Feb 1992 Turespaña Open de Tenerife (2) −20 (71-68-66-63=268) 5 strokes Spain Miguel Ángel Martín
13 1 Mar 1992 Open Mediterrania −12 (68-71-69-68=276) 2 strokes Spain José Rivero
14 6 Mar 1994 Turespaña Open Mediterrania (2) −12 (70-65-71-70=276) Playoff Republic of Ireland Paul McGinley
15 10 Apr 1994 Masters Tournament −9 (74-67-69-69=279) 2 strokes United States Tom Lehman
16 30 May 1994 Volvo PGA Championship −17 (67-68-71-65=271) 1 stroke South Africa Ernie Els
17 23 Mar 1997 Turespaña Masters Open de Canarias −20 (70-67-68-67=272) 2 strokes England Lee Westwood
18 1 Mar 1998 Dubai Desert Classic −19 (69-67-65-68=269) 3 strokes Australia Stephen Allan
19 11 Apr 1999 Masters Tournament (2) −8 (70-66-73-71=280) 2 strokes United States Davis Love III
20 14 May 2000 Benson & Hedges International Open (2) −13 (75-68-66-66=275) 3 strokes Wales Phillip Price
21 6 May 2001 Novotel Perrier Open de France −12 (66-69-66-67=268) 2 strokes England Paul Eales, Italy Costantino Rocca,
New Zealand Greg Turner
22 2 Dec 2001
(2002 season)
Omega Hong Kong Open1 −22 (65-69-64-64=262) 1 stroke Norway Henrik Bjørnstad
23 23 Oct 2005 Mallorca Classic −10 (69-65-70-66=270) 5 strokes England Paul Broadhurst, Spain Sergio García,
Spain José Manuel Lara

1Co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour

European Tour playoff record (2–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1989 KLM Dutch Open England Roger Chapman, Northern Ireland Ronan Rafferty Won with double-bogey on ninth extra hole
Chapman eliminated by par on first hole
2 1993 Carroll's Irish Open England Nick Faldo Lost to par on first extra hole
3 1994 Turespaña Open Mediterrania Republic of Ireland Paul McGinley Won with birdie on second extra hole
4 1994 Mercedes German Masters Spain Seve Ballesteros, South Africa Ernie Els Ballesteros won with birdie on first extra hole

Japan Golf Tour wins (2)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 12 Nov 1989 Visa Taiheiyo Club Masters −13 (66-70-67=203)* 3 strokes Japan Naomichi Ozaki
2 11 Nov 1990 Visa Taiheiyo Club Masters (2) −18 (66-68-69-67=270) 5 strokes Germany Bernhard Langer, Japan Masashi Ozaki

*Note: The 1989 Visa Taiheiyo Club Masters was shortened to 54 holes due to rain.

Other wins (1)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 30 Apr 1995 Tournoi Perrier de Paris
(with Spain Seve Ballesteros)
−24 (63-67-64-62=256) 3 strokes Australia Mike Clayton and Australia Peter O'Malley

Major championships[edit]

Wins (2)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1994 Masters Tournament 1 shot deficit −9 (74-67-69-69=279) 2 strokes United States Tom Lehman
1999 Masters Tournament (2) 1 shot lead −8 (70-66-73-71=280) 2 strokes United States Davis Love III

Results timeline[edit]

Results not in chronological order in 2020.

Tournament 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament CUT CUT T8
U.S. Open T68 T9
The Open Championship CUT T25LA T16 T11 T36 T23
PGA Championship CUT CUT
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament 13 2 T42 T7 1 T14 T12 T12 1
U.S. Open T8 T8 CUT CUT CUT T28 T16 T18 WD
The Open Championship T16 T80 3 CUT T38 T31 T20 T15 CUT
PGA Championship T14 CUT CUT T56 T7 T31 CUT CUT CUT
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament CUT T15 4 T8 30 CUT T3 T44 CUT CUT
U.S. Open T12 CUT T50 CUT T21 T45
The Open Championship T31 T54 CUT CUT T3 T56
PGA Championship T4 T37 69 T51 CUT T47 T55 CUT
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Masters Tournament CUT CUT T50 T34 CUT CUT CUT
U.S. Open CUT
The Open Championship
PGA Championship CUT CUT
Tournament 2019 2020 2021 2022
Masters Tournament CUT CUT T50 CUT
PGA Championship
U.S. Open
The Open Championship NT
  Top 10
  Did not play

LA = Low amateur
WD = Withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
NT = No tournament due to COVID-19 pandemic


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 2 1 1 5 8 13 33 19
PGA Championship 0 0 0 1 2 3 21 10
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 3 7 18 11
The Open Championship 0 0 2 2 2 9 21 16
Totals 2 1 3 8 15 32 93 56
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 9 (1994 Open Championship – 1997 Open Championship)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (twice)

Results in The Players Championship[edit]

Tournament 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
The Players Championship CUT T9 CUT T14 T23 T25 T52
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
The Players Championship CUT T12 T36 CUT CUT 7 T3 T54
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place

Results in World Golf Championships[edit]

Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Match Play QF R32 QF R64 R32 R32
Championship T11 T17 NT1 T27 T51 T17 T35
Invitational 40 T10 T47 T9 T22 82

1Cancelled due to 9/11

  Top 10
  Did not play

QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = Tied
NT = No tournament

Results in senior major championships[edit]

Results not in chronological order before 2022.

Tournament 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
The Tradition T20 CUT T39 NT T48 T60
Senior PGA Championship CUT CUT NT CUT
U.S. Senior Open NT CUT
Senior Players Championship T68 T28
The Senior Open Championship T53 CUT NT T46 CUT
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
NT = No tournament due to COVID-19 pandemic

Team appearances[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Week 11 1991 Ending 17 Mar 1991" (pdf). OWGR. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b Williams, Richard (1 October 2012). "Europe seal Ryder Cup win with comeback of epic proportions". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  3. ^ "José María Olazábal". PGA Tour. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Olazabal different class". The Glasgow Herald. 26 August 1985. p. 14.
  5. ^ Jansson, Anders (July 1985). "EM herrar" [Men's European Championship]. Svensk Golf (in Swedish). No. 7. pp. 5–11. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  6. ^ "69 Players Who Have Reached The Top-10 in World Ranking" (PDF). Official World Golf Ranking. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Golf Roundup: Olazabal Wins World Series by 12 Strokes". Los Angeles Times. California. Associated Press. 27 August 1990. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  8. ^ "1994: Jose Maria Olazabal second Spaniard to win Masters". Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  9. ^ "1999: Olazabal wins second Masters Green Jacket". Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  10. ^ Kelley, Brent. "PGA Championship Records". Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  11. ^ "2002 PGA Tour Money List Leaders". ESPN. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  12. ^ Critchley, Bruce (8 September 2008). "Top Ryder Cup pairings". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  13. ^ "Jose Maria Olazabal named captain". ESPN. Associated Press. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  14. ^ Bissell, Kathy. "Jose Maria Olazabal's Team Stuns US in Ryder Cup". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  15. ^ Donegan, Lawrence (21 September 1999). "Hope that the US can be put to Ryder flight". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  16. ^ "Olazabal to be inducted in Hall of Fame". USA Today. Associated Press. 20 May 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  17. ^ "Prince of Asturias awards: Olazabal follows in Seve's footsteps". EuroNews. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  18. ^ "European Amateur Team Championship". European Golf Association.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Prince of Asturias Award for Sports
Succeeded by