Born: February 5, 1966
Birthplace: Fuenterrabia, Spain
Weight: 160 lbs
Turned Pro: 1985
One of the more talented European players of all time Jose Maria Olazabal exudes many of the same traits as his more famous Spanish countrymen Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia. Among these traits are a fiery personality and a wickedly imaginative short game.
Olazabal is known to most Americans for winning two Master's Green Jackets but throughout his career he has won many big events on both sides of the Atlantic.
It hasn't been an easy journey though, while blessed with tremendous ability around the greens Olazabal has been widely recognized as the worst driver of any of the top players in the world. It is something he has worked on tirelessly over the years but still continues to rear its head from time to time.
In the late 1990's Olazabal nearly had to give up golf altogether. For a time golf was the last of his worries while he struggled just to try and get out of bed and walk. A series of back and foot ailments attributed to Rheumatoid Arthritis put a serious kink in future career plans.
Determination kept Jose going through the tough times and in 1999 he won one of the most emotional Masters tournaments to date by defeating Davis Love III by two strokes. After having had to watch the 1995 Masters tournament from his bed, Olazabal was officially back.
PGA TOUR Victories
(6) 1990 NEC World Series of Golf. 1991 The International. 1994 Masters Tournament, NEC World Series of Golf. 1999 Masters Tournament. 2002 Buick Invitational.
(22): 1986 Ebel European Masters, Swiss Open, Sanyo Open. 1988 Volvo Belgian Open, German Masters. 1989 Tenerife Open, KLM Dutch Open, Visa Taiheiyo Masters. 1990 Benson & Hedges International Open, Carroll’s Irish Open, Lancome Trophy, Visa Taiheiyo Masters. 1991 Open Catalonia, Epson Grand Prix of Europe. 1992 Turespana Open de Tenerife, Open Mediterrania. 1994 Turespana Open Mediterrania, Volvo PGA Championship. 1997 Turespana Masters Open de Canarias. 1998 Dubai Desert Classic. 2000 Benson and Hedges International Open. 2001 French Open
Like fellow Spaniards Garcia and Ballesteros, Olazabal has a great imagination. He hits shots that many players would never dream of. Unfortunately for Jose Maria, streaky play off the tee has cost him several tournament wins including most recently the 2005 BellSouth.
The driver put in play for the last year or so is the MacGregor V-Foil Eye-O-Matic. He uses the smaller 380 cc head with 9.5-degrees of loft. Olazabal has long been a user of UST graphite shafts in his woods although he tends to switch shafts fairly regularly.
He carries the MacGregor V-Foil Eye-O-Matic fairway wood as well. He plays a 13.5-degree model three wood.
Olazabal has been using MacGregor irons for quite a few years now. For the last several years he has used the V-Foil 1025M Forged Muscle Back irons. These are a very traditional shaped blade except for the flange that comes out of the back, lowering the center of gravity of the club. Olazabal carries 3-9 as well as a custom-grind 1-iron.
Olazabal carries three forged MacGregor wedges as well. He has a 48-degree pitching wedge, 56-degree sand wedge, and 60-degree lob wedge. The sand wedge has a raw finish to it and has some lead tape added to raise the centre of gravity and lower the ball flight. All of Jose Maria's wedges and irons have True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts.
The fourteenth club in the bag and the only non-MacGregor club is an Odyssey DFX 9900. This is a semi-mallet head with a sweep-neck hosel and the firm black insert. Olazabal also uses the fat DFX Odyssey grip.
Jose Maria plays the Titleist ProV1 golf ball.