Golf: Olazabal's rust remover

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JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL, who takes a longer break than most players at the end of each season, admits his game is 'very rusty' but has no intention of changing his lifestyle.

The 27-year-old Spaniard, a linchpin of recent European Ryder Cup teams, opens his 1993 tournament campaign when he begins his defence of the Tenerife Open at the Golf del Sur today. 'I played my last tournament round on 7 December and did not start practising again until three weeks ago,' he said. 'I've done this every year and I don't intend to change. I'm not in the best of shape at the moment, but I'm not worried.'

After a two-under-par 70 in yesterday's pro-am, he said: 'I know a lot of top golfers play week in, week out, but I don't want to do that. My problem is not having a seven-week break but getting things right with my driver. That has always been my biggest weakness.'

Olazabal won the Tenerife and Mediterranean Opens early last year, but had no further victories. 'That was because of my driver,' he said. 'But I have been looking at videos of myself when I have won and now I have a wider backswing. I've kept the same driver but changed the swing pattern.'

Even though a 'major' title has so far eluded him, he has set himself no targets this year. 'Of course I would like to win a major championship, but I don't intend to put any pressure on myself,' he said.

Barry Lane, of England, who heads Europe's Ryder Cup points' table, also likes a break, but has a different method. He tries not to play more than four weeks at a time. 'I like nothing better than taking a week off but I always come back a shade out of touch,' Lane said. In Tenerife, he is likely to extend that Ryder Cup lead with his nearest challengers - Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Sandy Lyle and Bernhard Langer - all absent.

----------------------------------------------------------------- CARD OF THE COURSE ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hole Yards Par Hole Yards Par 1st 388 4 10th 481 5 2nd 206 3 11th 142 3 3rd 416 4 12th 454 4 4th 284 4 13th 328 4 5th 527 5 14th 478 5 6th 154 3 15th 328 4 7th 295 4 16th 383 4 8th 344 4 17th 202 3 9th 580 5 18th 394 4 Out: 3,194 36 In: 3,190 36 Total: 6,384 72 -----------------------------------------------------------------

The Monte Carlo Open, won for the last three of its nine years by Ian Woosnam, has been cancelled. The Carrolls Irish Open at Mount Juliet, Co. Kilkenny, originally scheduled for 10 to 13 June, has been switched to 1 to 4 July to fill the vacant position on the European Tour calendar, a fortnight before the Open Championship.

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