OAKMONT, Pa. — The reign in Spain?
As far as sports go, Spain is having a pretty nice run in the games division lately.
Check the scorecard. Jose Maria Olazabal won the Masters, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Sergi Bruguera won the singles titles at the French Open and Spain is in the World Cup.
When the U.S. Open starts today, Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros are going to try to keep the ball going for Spain. Ballesteros said his nation's success has given him more confidence.
But that's not all.
"It is a lot of credibility there to our country and a big publicity," Ballesteros said.
If a Spaniard wins this one, it will really be a big publicity.
Olazabal seems to be following in Ballesteros' spike prints. In 1983, it was Ballesteros who won the Masters and showed up at Oakmont Country Club with his one-iron to hit off the tee.
Ballesteros hit 42 one-irons in the 1983 Open and led after three rounds, although Larry Nelson wound up winning.
Now it's Olazabal's turn. He said his victory at Augusta helped him relax, and now all he has to do is be accurate with his iron shots off the tee and down the narrow fairways, then roll the ball into the hole on greens about as hard and fast as the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Ballesteros knows the course better than Olazabal, who is playing it for the first time. Ballesteros is here with his new swing doctor, Mac O'Grady, who has been working with him for nearly two months.
"There are some other teachers out there . . . telling you what to do, but they never played the game at the top level like Mac has in the past," Ballesteros said.
O'Grady, who caused a commotion at the Masters when he said many players were using beta blockers to enhance their performance, didn't have much to say when asked about Ballesteros--he put a pacifier in his mouth.