Jose Maria Olazabal wasn't hoping to make a splash at the European Tour's Volvo Champions event. Captain of the 2012 European Ryder Cup team, most figured the Spaniard would spend much of his limited tournament schedule getting intel on potential bubble players for the upcoming event.
However, after three rounds of golf at Fancourt Links in South Africa, it appears Olly may have different plans. At 45 years old and ranked 596th in the world, the two-time Masters winner wasn't on anybody's radar -- until he decided to turn back the clock and get within two shots of co-leaders Nicolas Colsaerts and Branden Grace going into Sunday's final round.
Let's be clear: nobody, not even Olly himself, is calling this a comeback. After battling rheumatism over the last couple of years and being forced to limit his schedule, most assumed his game would never be the same again.
But the great thing about golf is that even great players on the back-end of their playing career can, on occasion, find lightning in a bottle. Olly has certainly done just that, staying in control and battling brutal conditions that saw fellow countryman Pablo Martin implode with a 17-over 90 on Saturday.
With names like Charl Schwartzel, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen and Padraig Harrington all in the mix, a come-from-behind win in South Africa won't come easy. But honestly, I don't even think a win really matters to Olly at this point.
"I'm excited about what I have to do, not so much about what might happen," Olazabal said after Saturday's round. "It would be a great achievement if I hit seven or eight solid drives - just as I do on the range - and shoot a solid score."
He's certainly done that through three round. If he can somehow find a way to make it four in a row, chances are you'll not only see Olly smiling after Sunday's round, but the entire golf world as well.