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Olazabal is set to miss the Masters with injury.

NEXT month's Masters will have Tiger Woods, but it will not have Jose Maria Olazabal.

Champion at Augusta in 1994 and 1999 - he was Europe's last winner there - the 44-year-old Spanish star is again suffering from rheumatism and his manager Sergio Gomez said last night that he will be pulling out of the tournament this week.

"He has pain in his shoulder, forearms and hands," admitted Gomez.

"He can't swing properly, so we won't be going to Augusta."

"He is practising a little bit, but for not much more than an hour.

"If new miracle remedies help then he will be back, but traditional medicine is failing."

Olazabal, the favourite to succeed Colin Montgomerie as Ryder Cup captain, has not played a tournament since finishing 14th at the Castellon Masters last October.

It will be the first Masters he has missed since 1996 when he spent the whole season on the sidelines after being diagnosed with rheumatoid polyarthritis.

There were fears that his future would be in a wheelchair at that stage, but the man who with Seve Ballesteros formed the most successful partnership in the Ryder Cup history - only two defeats in 15 games together - came back for an emotional second victory at Augusta three years later.

Only four years ago Olazabal finished joint third there and was also part of the winning Ryder Cup team, his first appearance in the match since 1999, but he was able to play only seven European Tour events the following season and six in 2008.

Last year appeared more promising as he upped his tournaments to 16, only for the situation to worsen again over the winter.

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Jose Maria Olazabal is out of the Masters
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 18, 2010
Words:285
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