Olazabal to return at British Masters after 18 months out

Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:17pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Twice major champion Jose Maria Olazabal has confirmed he will play at the British Masters this week, his first appearance on the European Tour for 18 months.

The Spaniard, who captained Europe to Ryder Cup glory at the "miracle of Medinah" in 2012, has been out of action due to the rheumatoid arthritis he has suffered from throughout his 31-year career.

Olazabal's last competitive round was at the U.S. Masters in April 2015, and the 50-year-old said he would head for the Portugal Masters if all went well in his first appearance at The Grove since 2004.

"I want to see how the body can cope with the regular competition, rhythm of practice and 18 holes," he told the European Tour website. (www.europeantour.com)

"The two weeks at the British Masters and Portugal Masters will be a good test to see if I can stand up all day."

Olazabal, U.S. Masters winner in 1994 and 1999, described the difficulties he faced during his battle back to fitness.

"The problem is due to an inflammation of the extremities of the tendons, and it's been a long process of recovery. I hit rock bottom last December and started improving slowly from January," he added.

"Although I'm feeling better, I'm still not at a 100 percent. The pain is not so bad now, it gets a bit painful from time to time but I think that's just getting old!"

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

 
Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain chips from a sand trap onto the second green during second round play of the Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia April 10, 2015.  REUTERS/Phil Noble