Golf: Fears over Olazabal

AT ONE point yesterday the storm clouds heading for the European Tour were said to be so severe that the final round of the Lancome Trophy in Paris would have to be abandoned. At the time of writing, this looks unduly pessimistic. But whatever happens, Mark James is adamant it will have no bearing on the Ryder Cup in Boston.

As long as play commences, it will do so with Miguel Angel Jimenez, defending champion and cup rookie, leading by one at 11 under from Pierre Fulke with Colin Montgomerie one further back. "Everything is fine," James said. "I'm looking at the leaderboard but not reading anything into it."

But the main concern remains the form of Jose Maria Olazabal, Europe's most experienced team member. During his third round of 71, a level par effort with four bogeys and birdies, Olazabal hit only five fairways and twice hit drives so poorly they clattered trees close to the tee.

James will wait to make his own judgement in practice at Brookline. "Any player's form is a concern and I am aware it is unlikely for all 12 players to be in top form. Obviously, it would be great for Jose to be playing really well. We all know how good he can be in Ryder Cups and even if he is not on top form, he is still a good player.

"I would hope that any player who is not happy with his form will tell me. I want to get feedback from the players and it is my job along with Sam Torrance and Ken Brown to get the best out of them.

"But, equally, just because a player is a little unhappy or depressed, that does not mean they cannot play great golf. Ollie is a streaky player who can get on the crest of a wave. By all accounts he has played well this week and if he was in a slump, then he seems to be out of it."

Olazabal might need to be convinced of that. "There were question marks when I came here and it is coming slowly," the Spaniard said. "I know what I have to do and that is hit my driver straighter. I have a few days to go."

What upset the five-time Cup man was the distortion of his comments that this time he might not play all five series as on all previous occasions into one tabloid headline that he might play in the match at all. "The headline was out of line," he said. "Whoever wrote it should be ashamed. A few bad shots will not stop me getting on that plane. Nothing will. The Ryder Cup is very special."

It took Gary Player to remind Olazabal just how good he is before his win at Augusta. But Montgomerie said: "He does not need to be told by us how good he is. He has performed every time in the Ryder Cup and is a fantastic team man.

"To have the Masters champion on your side is a great asset. He holes putts under pressure better than anyone else. If there is a five-footer to win the match, before it was Seve Ballesteros, but now you, me and everyone else in the team would want Ollie to be the man."

Montgomerie indicated the current thinking was for Olazabal to partner Jimenez rather than Garcia. "All the rookies are looking to impress the captain at this stage," Monty said. "You want to be playing next week and not watching and I think Jimenez has done enough to play in the Friday morning foursomes with Ollie and if they win that, just keep them going."

The Scot led by three going into the final round at the British Masters but lost and is keen to reverse the outcome today. Changing his putter grip at the turn helped him to come home in three under for a 68. Jimenez, who had a 69, said: "Tomorrow I want just to try and concentrate on winning the tournament and defending my title."

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone