Olazabal to return after 18-month absence
Photo Source: EPA
Spanish golf great Jose Maria Olazabal has announced he'll return to action in this week's British Masters.
Two-time US Masters champion has not played competitive golf since the second round at Augusta National last year due to rheumatoid arthritis.
The 50-year-old has suffered from similar problems several times in his career and feared he might be confined to a wheelchair after missing the 1996 Masters and subsequently being sidelined for 18 months.
"I am very excited to compete again," Olazabal said.
"I want to see how the body can cope with the regular competition, rhythm of practice and 18 holes. Lately, I've played 18 holes two days, nine holes another two days - I've been alternating that way.
"The two weeks at the British Masters and Portugal Masters will be a good test to see if I can stand up all day.
"I want to see how it goes during the two weeks and that will help me to take a decision on whether I will keep on playing the European Tour or the senior circuit next season. We'll see how it goes.
"The problem is due to an inflammation of the extremities of the tendons and it's been a long process of recovery. I hit rock bottom last December and started improving slowly from January.
"Although I'm feeling better, I'm still not at 100 per cent. The pain is not so bad now, it gets a bit painful from time to time but I think that's just getting old!"