Jose Maria Olazabal was inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame on Monday night at a ceremony in Florida.
The Spaniard, who still has hopes of qualifying automatically for Colin Montgomerie’s Ryder Cup team, was honoured along with American Lanny Wadkins and Ireland’s Christy O’Connor as part of the class of 2009.
Close friend Seve Ballesteros, who is recovering from treatment to remove a cancerous brain tumour, introduced the Masters champion of 1994 and 1999, via video.
An emotional Olazabal stated: “It is overwhelming.
“This would have to be well up there with the Masters championships. It is the recognition of a lifelong career for some great achievements and at the same time it somehow represents the way you have behaved all through these years, on and off the golf course.
“I think it is the best reward any golfer can get.”
On Ballesteros, he added: “Seve has been my mentor. I first met him when I was 15 years old and we have had a great relationship. That makes it so much more special having him doing the introduction to the Hall of Fame.”
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