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Jose Maria Olazabal defends Ballesteros

Jose Maria Olazabal has stepped in to defend Seve Ballesteros over his much-publicised comments at the Seve Trophy that very few players impress him.

Only Tiger Woods "a couple of years ago", Sergio Garcia intermittently and past performers like Olazabal, came anywhere near to impressing the five-time major champion and winner of 87 titles worldwide, Ballesteros said last month.

Ballesteros claimed he had been misunderstood when some players were upset with his comments, but still had to present letters of apology to all the Seve Trophy players.

"I wasn't offended because I think I understand the guy," said Olazabal of his Spanish compatriot on Wednesday, the day before playing in the Majorca Classic.

"When you talk to a guy who has done what he's done around the world, something which very, very few have, and a guy with the talent he has shown over the years, and with the sort of playing materials he had at the time, you have to put all that into the mix.

"He did it all without 60-degree wedges, there were no square grooves and not such a good ball, and still he hit great shots under extreme pressure, so that's why he's not so impressed with today's players.

"I think he was misunderstood when he said those things. It was just an expression, not a lack of respect."

October 20, 2005

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