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.

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."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
propertyfilmReview: It's the sheer nastiness of the Riot Club that takes you aback, says Geoffrey Macnab

Sport
Twelve of the winning bidders will each host three group matches
football
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week