15 Things You Didn't Know About Jose Maria Olazabal

Check out our 15 things you didn't know about the Spanish legend.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Jose Maria Olazabal
(Image credit: Getty Images)

15 Things You Didn't Know About Jose Maria Olazabal

Jose Maria Olazabal is one of the very few golfers to have won The Masters (opens in new tab) twice, achieving the feat in 1994 and 1999. But by no means are they the only milestones in his career. Let's take a look at 15 things you didn't know about the Spaniard.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Jose Maria Olazabal

1. He was born in Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, Spain on the 5th of February, 1966. The day before, Real Golf Club de San Sebastian opened right next to the family home.

2. Olazabal's grandfather, father and mother all worked at the club so he spent a lot of time there as a child.

3. He hit his first golf ball aged 2 and started playing full rounds at six years old.

4. His career was nearly cut short after considerable back and foot pain. At its worst he could barely walk and he was forced to withdraw from the 1995 Ryder Cup as his condition worsened after a series of misdiagnoses.

5. In 1984 he beat Colin Montgomerie in the championship match of the British Amateur.

6. Olazabal formed a lethal, record-setting partnership with Seve Ballesteros during the Ryder Cup. It was known as the Spanish Armada and they combined to win 12 points together with an overall record of 11-2-2 in four balls and foursomes.

Olazabal and Seve

7. He turned pro at the age of 19 and won the 1985 European Tour Q-School tournament. He would go on to win Rookie of the Year honours.

8. Between 1989 and 1999 the Spaniard put together a brilliant stretch at The Masters - he notched two victories, a 2nd place and four other top-12 finishes.

9. During his 1994 victory he had 30 single-putts, chipped in twice and 100 per cent sand-save record.

10. His best world ranking is 4th.

11. He is currently 9th in the all-time list for most DP World Tour (formerly European Tour) wins with 23.

12. Arguably his greatest achievement, Olazabal inspired the 2012 Ryder Cup team to a momentous come-back at Medinah. With only the singles matches to come Europe were 10-6 down and yet the next day they emerged victorious.

13. He played on seven Ryder Cups and was on the winning side three times, lost three times, and the match was halved in 1989.

14. He was induced into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009.

15. In 2012 he was also awarded the coveted Prince of Asturias award in recognition of his career successes and the exemplary manner in which he conducted himself as a professional.

Sam Tremlett
Senior Staff Writer

A golfer for most of his life, Sam is a Senior Staff Writer for Golf Monthly. 

Working with golf gear and equipment over the last five years, Sam has quickly built outstanding knowledge and expertise on golf products ranging from drivers, to balls, to shoes. 

He also loves to test golf apparel especially if it a piece that can be used just about anywhere!

As a result he has always been the one family and friends come to for buying advice and tips.

He is a graduate of Swansea University where he studied History and American Studies, and he has been a part of the Golf Monthly team since December 2017. He also previously worked for World Soccer and Rugby World magazines.

Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website. He also oversees all Tour player content as well. 

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five.