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Jose Maria Olazabal still struggling with injuries

Struggling with fatigue brought on by rheumatism, Jose Maria Olazabal said on Wednesday he was counting on the strength that helped him battle back from similar health problems nine years ago.

“I wouldn’t spend time on the driving range or practising if I didn’t have any hope of achieving more things in my career,” the double major winner told a news conference at Wentworth, where the PGA Championship starts on Thursday.

“I truly believe that through the improvement I’ve seen, it’s just a matter of just getting rid of that fatigue and I’ll be back to where I want to,” the 42-year-old Spaniard added.

He battled back from rheumatoid polyarthritis, which affects the joints limiting their use, to famously win his second green jacket at the U.S. Masters in 1999, and knows what it will take to regain his competitive edge again.

“The last time I went through something like that it took me two years to pretty much be completely recovered,” the former world number two said.

Now languishing at 167 in the rankings, without a win since October 2005 in the Mallorca Classic and unable to do fitness work in the gym for the last year, the indomitable Basque knows the road to recovery might be even tougher this time around.

“I still feel a little low on energy when I get on the golf course, that’s the main issue. I find it hard these days to score well,” he said.

However, displaying a humorous demeanour to reporters, Olazabal was upbeat about his future and even had a trick or two up his sleeve before teeing off with big-hitters Justin Rose and Angel Cabrera on Thursday and Friday.

“I’m going to be so far back that I’m going to need binoculars to see where they are and a phone to tell them it’s my shot,” he said cheerfully.


May 22, 2008

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