Olazabal targets keeping PGA Tour card
Former double U.S. Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal could be seeing more of the European Tour next year if he loses his U.S. Tour card, the Spaniard said on Wednesday.
The 1994 and 1999 Augusta winner who has based himself in America, lies 143rd on the U.S. Tour, 18 places and more than 100,000 dollars from safety, and has just two events left to make sure of his card for 2005.
His appearance in this week's Mallorca Classic at the Pula course, where he has redesigned several greens, gives him the chance to make up for last year when he hit out of bounds on the 17th on the final day to hand Miguel Angel Jimenez victory.
However, 38-year-old Olazabal, 129th on the world rankings, is looking at the bigger picture.
"After this week I have the next two weeks to try to keep my card and the following year will depend on how things go," he said.
"Obviously I want to keep my card, but if I don't I should get some early starts (on the U.S. Tour) and invites and I will, of course, get to play in San Diego (Buick Invitational).
"If that is going to be the case then I may be looking at half a season in Europe.
"My target next year is clear: to get back into the world top 50. That is crucial."
For that to happen Olazabal, currently 83rd on the European Tour money list, needs to rediscover his form.
"I have a lot of work to do because I have no consistency," he said. "When I hit the ball it's really good but I am still missing too many shots."
The Mallorca event has been raised to a full European Tour tournament from a combined Challenge Tour tournament, offering two year's exemption to the winner.
World number 11 Sergio Garcia has boosted the field, spurning a chance to play for a one million pounds first prize at the World Matchplay Championship.
Garcia needs to play the tournament to complete his 11 mandatory European Tour events this year.
Last week's Dunhill Links champion Stephen Gallacher also plays at Pula as does Australian Jarrod Moseley, who created a European Tour record when he won the 1999 Heineken Classic on his debut.
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