Ryder Cup team mates Padraig Harrington and Jose Maria Olazábal will remain ‘amigos’ despite Sunday’s Seve Trophy bust up.
That’s the view of Olazabal’s manager Sergio Gomez in the wake of the incident that marred Great Britain and Ireland’s Seve Trophy win at El Saler in Valencia.
Two of the most sporting characters in the game fell out when Olazabal felt that his honesty was being questioned when he repaired a couple of marks on the line of his putt.
Harrington was unsure if they were legally repairable pitch marks but before he had a chance to ask for a ruling, the Spaniard was already in the process of repairing them.
The two men spoke for 15 minutes after the round without resolving their differences but Gomez believes that it will eventually be forgotten by both men.
He said: “It will not affect their friendship. This group of top players meets all the time and I am sure they will meet soon. There may come a day when they will play together again in the Ryder Cup.
“Jose is still best friends with Justin Leonard after all that happened so I don’t think, as we say in Spain, blood won’t reach the river over this.”
However, Gomez revealed how surprised Olazabal had been at Harrington’s reaction and the implication of cheating.
He added: “Jose Maria said, ‘I am going to repair two pitch marks here’. He bent down and started to repair them when Padraig started to make emphatic signs of discomfort.
“Jose didn’t realise this until he said he could almost feel Padraig’s breath on the back of his neck. He said to Padraig, ‘I have 20 years of a career behind me. Everybody knows me. Are you saying I was trying to cheat? You are not going to damage my reputation. Pick up you’re ball and let’s go to the next tee’.”
Gomez added: “They had quite a long chat afterwards for 15 minutes and I do not think it will be a problem. Chema is still best friends with Justin Leonard after the Ryder Cup.”
Harrington holed a four footer on the last to halve the match give Great Britain and Ireland the half they need for victory.
And he confessed afterwards that he was not trying to question Olazabal’s integrity and had no intention of celebrating the victory.
He explained: “I was not trying to question his integrity, but that’s what he thought and I can 100 percent see his side ot it because it was just a matter of opinion.
“There were two marks in front of his ball. He said they were pitch marks and fixed them. I wasn’t happy because I felt it wasn’t clear and would have called for the referee.
“But my reaction put Jose in a difficult position and he did the honourable thing and conceded the hole. It’s not that I wanted him to because I would have been very happy to have called it a half and moved on from there.”
However Gomez revealed that Olazabal would never have accepted a half.
He said: “Jose said, ‘If I had accepted a half I would have accepted that I had done something wrong.’ “
But yesterday the Dubliner was simply trying to forget the whole incident.
He said: “I think at this stage, what’s said is said and it’s finished.”
Two-time Masters champion Olazabal has spoken out against bad sportmanship in the past.
He was the victim in the 1999 Ryder Cup at Broolike where Leonard holed a monster putt and American players and their wives ran onto the 17th green when he still had a chance to keep the match alive.
Like the Spaniard, Harrington also has an impeccable reputation for honesty and has called penalty shots on himself several times in tour events.
The Dubliner will team up with Paul McGinley for this week’s World Cup at Kiawah Island, the scene of their victory in 1997.