It's Official: Olazabal Named European Ryder Cup Captain

The rumors about Jose Maria Olazabal becoming the captain of the 2012 European Ryder Cup team are now fact. The 44-year-old Spaniard, who has played in seven Ryder Cups and was Europe's vice-captain for the last two matches, was appointed on Tuesday to lead the defending champions.

Olazábal becomes the 23rd golfer to captain a Ryder Cup team against the United States and the second Spaniard after Seve Ballesteros, the winning captain in 1997 when Europe triumphed at Club de Golf Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain.

"It is huge for me to be the next captain," Olazabal said. "I think it's going to be the biggest challenge of my career. I've had a pretty solid professional career but the Ryder Cup is very special to me and to be the captain… there is only one go at it and I will try to be as successful as possible."

Olazabal said he spoke to Ballesteros about the captain's job. "Without question the Ryder Cup has given me many memorable times, especially with Seve from the moment we were first partners in 1987 and Europe won in America for the first time," Olazabal said.

"We were unbeaten in 1989 and 1991 and we won our last match together in 1993. I spoke to Seve and I let him know and he was delighted."

Olazabal is up for the challenge in becoming an important factor in one of the game's premier events. "We all know the Ryder Cup is one of the most exciting and important competitions in the golfing calendar," he said. "There is nothing like holding that trophy."

The 2012 U.S. team is expected to be captained by Davis Love III, with the announcement to become official later this week.