Olazabal makes heartfelt tribute to mentor's family

THERE WAS another Sergio from the close-knit family that is Spanish golf who was not forgotten at St Andrews as Spain won the Alfred Dunhill Cup for the first time in 15 attempts. Sergio Gomez was the junior organiser at the San Sebastian club near the Basque coast when Jose Maria Olazabal first displayed his vast skills.

THERE WAS another Sergio from the close-knit family that is Spanish golf who was not forgotten at St Andrews as Spain won the Alfred Dunhill Cup for the first time in 15 attempts. Sergio Gomez was the junior organiser at the San Sebastian club near the Basque coast when Jose Maria Olazabal first displayed his vast skills.

Gomez took Olazabal under his wing and, after the youngster turned professional, became his manager and virtually constant travelling companion along with his wife, Maite. When another young phenomenon came along, he was free with his advice to Sergio Garcia, his family and business friends.

But Gomez was not at St Andrews as his brother died just prior to the tournament. "I want to dedicate this victory to Sergio and his family," said Olazabal. "They're going through tough times, especially his mum."

Olazabal's captain, the 19-year-old Garcia, added his tribute. "We talked to Sergio and told him 'now we have a good reason to win this tournament'. I am so proud of my team. I think Sergio and the whole of his family deserve this trophy."

Olazabal was making his eighth appearance in the event, Miguel Angel Jimenez his ninth. A certain Seve Ballesteros played a few times as well but, as at the Ryder Cup, the very special genius of El Niño inspired his team-mates. A year ago, when Spain lost in the final, Santiago Luna was the third member of the team and managed a victory over Tiger Woods in the semi-finals.

This year Garcia lost both his matches on Sunday but still came out a winner. Jimenez was the man to thank with three important wins over the weekend after losing his first two games. "Miguel said 'if you need me, I'll be there,' and he proved that," Garcia said. "He and Jose Maria gave me a lot of confidence. It is a team event and everybody played their part. We needed two people to play well and that's what we did every single day."

Garcia was 18 under par for his five rounds over the Old Course, the venue for next year's Open Championship. They say it takes time to get to know the venerable lay-out, but the Kid had never been there before. In 91 holes, he never found any of those scorecard-wrecking fairway pot-bunkers.

"I'm looking forward to the Open with some confidence, but you know it will be different," said Garcia, who missed the cut at Carnoustie this year at 30 over par. "You know what happened to me at the Open this year after winning the Irish Open and finishing second at Loch Lomond.

"It's a totally different tournament, the weather, you don't know what the weather will be. I hope I will win the Open next year. But don't expect me to win. I'll come here and try to win, and that's all I can do."

The last time Garcia played at Wentworth, scene of this week's World Match Play, was at the PGA Championship in May when Olazabal appealed for calm in speculation about whether his young compatriot might attain the then lofty goals of, say, making the Ryder Cup team. "A few months ago everyone was asking Sergio questions about making the Ryder Cup and what he would achieve in the future," Olazabal recalled. "I just thought at the time it was the wrong thing for him to be listening to. I was trying to take the pressure away as much as possible. But now a few months have passed by and he has proved he can handle all kinds of pressure. There is no need for him to be protected. He has to protect us!"

* Prize-money for next year's Weetabix Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale has been increased by over 25 per cent to £730,000. Should Sherri Steinhauer achieve a third successive victory, the American will win £120,000.

Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn