Ecstatic Spaniards double their money at St Andrews; GOLF.
Ballesteros called Miguel Angel Martin "that little man" and "squarehead" three years ago when Martin threatened to take his exclusion from the Ryder Cup to court.
Jose Maria Olazabal had rather different words to describe his team-mate after he summoned up one of the great Old Course finishes to give the Spanish a 2-1 victory over South Africa.
"Miguel Angel may not be big in size, but he has the heart of a lion," said Olazabal, whose disappointment at losing to Ernie Els became joy when first Miguel Angel Jimenez defeated Retief Goosen and Martin overcame David Frost at the first extra hole.When Martin was one behind on the final hole and his approach hit the flagstick and spun into the Valley of Sin it looked as if Spain were finally going to miss Sergio Garcia.
But the stand-in thought of Costantino Rocca at the 1995 Open, then acted like him by holing the 50-foot birdie putt to force extra holes. And, unlike Rocca, he went on to win, Frost three-putting the 19th.
No wonder Olazabal and Jimenez were ecstatic. The pounds 50,000 cheques they were expecting to be handed suddenly became pounds 100,000 and, from their perspective, the final chapter of the competition's history had a happy ending.
The tournament, which failed to attract a stellar field this year, is being dropped in favour of a pounds 3million celebrity pro-am next October.
"I'm sad in a way because we've done so well lately," said Olazabal. "But obviously life goes on and things change. I think the sponsors think that a change in format might increase the attention the tournament receives."
The finish, though, was hard luck on Els, who equalled one record and broke another with his five wins out of five during the week. The world No 2 finished a cumulative 20 under par, matching the record set by Nick Faldo over four rounds and by Nick Price over five.
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|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Oct 16, 2000|
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