Fiat and Fila Italian Open
Fiat and Fila Italian Open
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Event Features
Janzen makes rare European Tour appearance
Olazabal in need of recharge

Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal admits he needs to fire himself up for this week's Italian Open.

"I'm running on empty at the moment and need to lift my emotions," Olazabal said on Wednesday.

The Spaniard said he had come down to earth since winning his second Masters earlier this month. "Somehow I feel empty, drained of adrenalin. My emotions are pretty flat."

"The quicker I start playing better then the quicker I will get focused again, get my fighting spirit back," said Olazabal, whose rivals from Thursday will include last year's U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen.

Defending champion Patrik Sjoland of Sweden, European rankings leader David Howell of Britain and home favourite Costantino Rocca will also compete for the $155,000 first prize.

Olazabal, 33, missed the cut by a stroke in last week's Spanish Open after returning to the European Tour.

"There was not much time for practice but I should have played better than I did last week," said Olazabal.

"My short game was poor and I putted terribly. This week my schedule is pretty well back to normal so I'm hoping for better things.

"My biggest problem is my emotions. It's very difficult to find yourself with the same sort of attitude and approach as I had playing the Masters' last couple of days.

"I didn't experience the same thing in 1994 when I first won the Masters but then this meant a lot more after my problems with my feet."

Olazabal was sidelined for 18 months with a career-threatening foot injury from 1995.

"It just needs for me to get close to winning a tournament to bring my adrenalin back," added Olazabal, who will play the French Open next week and then the Benson and Hedges International Open.

Janzen, twice U.S. Open champion, is making a rare trip to Europe and hopes the experience will do him good.

"We play for a lot of money at home so it's not easy to leave home," said the American, who was only one off the lead in the Masters until fading to 14th.

"But if you do well early in the year it opens the door to playing more abroad.

"I think it's important to win outside the United States, good for the c.v. Playing abroad makes you a more complete player.

"The standard has gone up in Europe so I fully expect this week to be very competitive which is also good for me."

Severiano Ballesteros tries to make his second cut of the year after last week's controversy over a penalty drop which appeared to give him an advantage in the first round of the Spanish Open.

Ballesteros escaped sanction and a European Tour spokesman said the matter, which caused a lot of anger and discussion among the Spaniard's fellow players, was closed.


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