Skip to main content

Olazabal recalls favorite War by the Shore moment

Jose Maria Olazabal
Getty Images
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 27: Rickie Fowler plays his second shot on the sixth hole during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 27, 2010 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)  - 

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Twenty-one years after the 1991 Ryder Cup – better known now as the War by the Shore – Jose Maria Olazabal said one memory lingers still.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in advance of this year’s Ryder Cup (at which he will captain the European side), Olazabal recalled his Friday foursomes match alongside the legendary Seve Ballesteros.

On the par-5 second hole at Kiawah's Ocean Course, Ballesteros hit a wild hook into the marshland down the left. It was such a poor tee shot, in fact, that Olazabal was forced to drop on the ladies’ tee.

He picks up the story from there:

“Obviously, the U.S. team was, like always, right in the middle of the fairway. They hit their second shot short of the green in two; Seve hit a 4-iron and blocked it right into the trees, left me against the tree, and I have to chip out. And obviously we are lying 5 and the U.S. team is lying two, and I look at Seve and I said, ‘What the hell are we doing here? Let’s pick the ball up and go to the third hole.’

“And in those days, the green had water front and water on the back. Seve said, ‘Just hold on a second. If we chip and putt, we make 7.’”

“Yes, that’s correct, Seve,” Olazabal replied.

“Well, if they miss the chip and hit it in the water and drop it and chip it on to the green and make two putts, what do they do? Seven. So we still have a chance. Let’s go.”

Of course, they ended up losing that hole, but staged a comeback and eventually defeated Paul Azinger and Chip Beck, giving the Europeans their only point of the morning.

Yep, just another grow-the-legend moment from Seve.