Jose Maria Olazabal named 2012 European Ryder Cup captain

The Spaniard is named Europe's captain in the capital, ahead of this week's Abu Dhabi Championship at the National Course.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 18: 2012 Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain points the way whilst skippering the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing entry for the 2011 Volvo Ocean Race as a preview to the 2011 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship  at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 18, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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ABU DHABI // Jose Maria Olazabal has been appointed Europe's captain for the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, near Chicago, officials say.

The 44-year-old Spaniard succeeds Colin Montgomerie who stepped down after leading Europe to victory over the United States in the 2010 edition of the biennial team event in Wales.

"It is huge for me to be the next captain ... I think it's going to be the biggest challenge of my career," Olazabal told a news conference ahead of this week's Abu Dhabi Championship.

"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, who formed the competition's best partnership alongside Seve Ballesteros, said he had spoken to his great friend and the 1997 European skipper about taking on the role in Medinah.

"I spoke to Seve and I let him know that I was going to be the next captain and he was delighted," added the twice former US Masters winner.

"We joked about a couple of things over the phone like applying some of his theories from 1997, like separating the beds," Olazabal said laughing.

The two Spaniards won 11, halved two and lost two of their 15 matches together as a Ryder Cup pair.