JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL will be confirmed today as Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain – and he is the right man for the job.
Olazabal has the competition in his blood, having been involved in eight editions of the famous event, and that makes him a great choice. The Spaniard (right) has the experience and is well liked – he’s got everything it takes to defend the trophy against the Americans in Chicago next year.
In the meantime, another year of golf has just begun and I see it being another good one for Europe and the European Tour.
The likes of Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer are all so strong at the moment, and the depth of talent is enhanced by a fantastic crop coming through.
On that note I have to give a mention to up-and-coming Englishman Jamie Elsom, the former Walker Cup player who earned his biggest payday yet with fourth place at the Joburg Open on Sunday.
Hopefully we’ll also see some more Europeans winning Majors – and the man I’d really love to see win one finally is of course Westwood. I know Colin Montgomerie has backed him to win the Masters – it’s not the tournament I’d have picked for him as I feel he’s better suited to one of the Opens.
On top of that, I think Augusta is perfect hunting ground for extremely long hitters, which is why I fancy Dustin Johnson to do well at the Masters.
Majors aside, Westwood’s other target will be to hold onto the world No1 spot that he claimed late last year. It won’t be easy, but a great sign was that he won another tournament as soon as he rose to No1, and finished the 2010 in style.
McDowell, Kaymer and Phil Mickelson will all challenge him for the No1 ranking but the biggest threat has to be Tiger Woods.
He is his nearest rival and I hope we’ll see him back to his best in 2011.