Olazabal's Competitive Drive Still Alive

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by Kent 'Cookie' Gilchrist 

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Don’t know if a parallel can be drawn to the fact Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal practised more than any two American players at the RBC Canadian Open which is on-going at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.

The fact the European Ryder Cup captain missed the cut on Friday doesn’t alter the angst and hand wringing over the dearth of American majors winners recently.
 
Olazabal teed off in the afternoon wave on Friday, but was practising 90 minutes before anyone else in the 78-player session had put in an appearance. By that time he had already hit 200-300 chips and bunker shots.
 
He went out and shot two-over 72 and his 146 six-over total was two too many.
 
But there he was on Saturday morning back beating balls after the survivors had set off to challenge the Shaughnessy rough in round three.
 
The only other guy on the huge driving range was Florida’s Billy Horschel who had a pair of 73s. But that was it, a lonely pair on a vast expanse of green. 
 
Olazabal, 45, is on a major medical exemption. He has 17 starts left to make nearly $600,000 or he will lose his full-play membership on the PGA Tour. He has suffered off and on for years with rheumatism especially in his feet.
 
Even though Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup captains are usually halfway down the other side of the hill in terms of being effective PGA Tour players, Olazabal clearly isn’t thinking about putting the clubs away. The two-time Masters Champion has the competitive juices flowing as strongly as ever.
 
Does Olazabal represent the norm on the European Tour where the last seven Majors champions play most of their competitive golf?
 
Certainly it’s more grist for the debate that will merely intensify if the PGA Champion is a foreigner, too.
 
ALWAYS AN A--HOLE

altErnie Els’ caddy, former NHL player and mighty fine amateur golfer Dan Quinn was nice as pie when your agent introduced himself as a member of the media who had written a story on him last year just before the annual Celebrity tournament in Lake Tahoe.

He wasn’t even civil when all he saw was a “volunteer” at the practise green and bunker a couple of days later when some friendly small talk was offered while they both stood around watching Els chip.

His stay with the Canucks was abbreviated when management deemed him a “poor influence” on first-round draft choice Trevor Linden.
 
So if Quinn’s true colours are the ones where he couldn’t be bothered to converse with a mere volunteer, how come the 'Big Easy' is such good friends with him?
 
What kind of light does that shine on Els?
 
Just wondering.
 
 
About the writer:
Kent Gilchrist - know to many as 'Cookie' - recently retired after a long and illustrious career as a sports writer for the Vancouver Sun and Province Newspapers. Alas, his love of golf and writing have led him to contributing to a blog for Inside Golf during this week's RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy. Cookie will be filing stories from the practice area as he is also volunteering on the driving range to assist with the running of the tournament.
 
 
 
 
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