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Jose Maria Olazabal plays down rift

Jose Maria Olazabal declined to talk about any potential rift with Ryder Cup team mate Colin Montgomerie on Wednesday, saying it would not be in the interests of the European side.

Montgomerie criticized Olazabal for not playing in the last event to count for Ryder Cup points, the BMW International Open in Munich two weeks ago, when the Spaniard was in danger of losing his automatic qualifying place.

"Whatever I have to say to Monty I will say it personally," Olazabal told Reuters.

"That's it. I don't want anything to be said in the press that might cause disharmony for our team."

Asked if he would like to play in pairs with Montgomerie, Olazabal added: "I don't mind. It would not be the end of the world.

"I told Ian (Woosnam, Europe's captain) I have no problem with any player."

Olazabal, who made the Europe top 10 to claim a Cup place after an absence of six years added that he bore no ill-will to the United States captain Tom Lehman.

Lehmann was one of the players who danced on the green at Brookline in 1999 when Olazabal's opponent Justin Leonard holed the putt that consequently won the Ryder Cup -- before the Spanish player had putted out.

Lehman apologized for his actions and Olazabal said he had put the matter behind him.

"Anybody would have reacted that way," he said. "Emotions come out. If he wins this time, he'll be jumping up and down again.

"If you let it live with you the rest of your life, it's going to be pretty poor for you. It's time to turn the page. It's 2006," added Olazabal, who is playing in this week's Madrid Open.

The Ryder Cup takes place at the K Club in Ireland from September 22 -24.

September 14, 2006

 




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