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.

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

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable