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Jose Maria Olazabal backed to be next captain

Jose Maria Olazabal is enticed by the possibility of replacing Colin Montgomerie as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, although a big concern remains.

“It’s been mentioned, by the players, by Monty,” the 44-year-old Spaniard told Sky Sports. “We have talked about it a little bit. There is just one issue, my health. Time will tell.”

Olazabal said Tuesday there would be “only one answer—yes” if he was healthy and offered the job. He has rheumatoid arthritis, limiting his appearances on the tour in recent years. He played only one event this season.

Olazabal took part in seven Ryder Cups before becoming vice captain for the last two. He appears to be the unanimous choice among Europe’s leading players to succeed Montgomerie for the 2012 matches outside Chicago.

The popular Olazabal was one of Montgomerie’s four vice captains as Europe regained the trophy with a dramatic victory over the United States at Celtic Manor in Wales on Monday. He also was an assistant to Nick Faldo at Valahalla two years ago.

“You need to be close to the players and play with them during the qualifying process, that is why it (health) is the only question mark,” he said. “But I have always said the Ryder Cup is special, it’s a unique event, and it’s been great to be part of it.”

Olazabal has won 18 of his 31 Ryder Cup matches and been on the winning side with Europe three times.

Montgomerie said Olazabal would be “everybody’s choice” to succeed him.

“He has a lot of experience—as much as I have—and I am sure he will do as good, if not a better, job than I did,” Montgomerie told Sky Sports. “That’s it for me with the Ryder Cup, unless I try to qualify as a player.”

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