Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal will not compete at Augusta National next month for just the third time in his career.
In making his announcement on Friday, Olazabal cited health concerns. He is believed to be dealing with rheumatoid arthritis.
“I am sorry to announce that I’m unable to attend this year as I’m not feeling well,” said the 50-year-old Spaniard, who won green jackets in 1994 and '99. “The Masters is very special to me and walking up Magnolia Lane gives me a peace of mind like nowhere else. I have wonderful memories since my first time at Augusta in 1985 as an amateur, not just of the two wins but from the great experiences that make it a unique event.”
Olazabal has not played competitively since the second round of last year's Masters.
Although Olazabal hasn't been able to play competitively, his condition has improved. He's now able to hit golf balls on the practice range and work on his putting.
“I’m feeling better,” he said. “I have regular tests and they show improvement, which is a good sign. But the main thing is to get rid of pain. It’s a slow process and I have to be patient.”