Sergio Garcia in search of first Claret Jug
Sergio Garcia will be hoping to put years of heartache behind him when he tees it up in The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.
The 37-year-old Spaniard has twice finished second and has amassed no less than ten top-ten finishes in 20 previous starts in The Open but has high hopes of finally getting his hands on the Claret Jug after claiming his first major title at the Masters Tournament earlier this year.
“Everybody knows how much I love The Open and I’d love to have at least one of them before I hang up my boots,” he said after his first practice round of the week. “I’m feeling good and excited about the week. Winning the Masters does give you a bit of extra confidence but every week is different and you don’t know how you’re going to feel until you go out there on the golf course.
“I’ve always said that consistency is one of my greatest attributes,” he added. “I think some people overlook that. I’ve been able to do a lot during my time playing at The Open and hopefully I can do even better this week.”
The Masters champion sees his Open experience as a key factor this week and that opinion is backed up by the fact that the last two championships at Royal Birkdale have both been won by golfers well past their first flush of youth. Mark O’Meara was 41 when he won in 1998 while Padraig Harrington was 36 when he claimed the title ten years later.
“It’s firm and fast this week a bit like Turnberry (in 2009) when Watson almost won it so I think that gives guys with a bit more experience a little bit of a better chance.”
Garcia will be looking to complete a Spanish links hat-trick this week after John Rahm won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and then Rafa Cabrera-Bello claimed the title at last weekend’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
“It’s been a fun year for Spanish golf and for Spanish sport in general,” he said. “Jon, Rafa and I have all won but you’ve also had (Garbine) Muguruza winning at Wimbledon and obviously Rafa (Nadal) winning at Roland Garros as well. It’s very exciting to see and we’re going to try to keep it going as long as possible.”
Irrespective of the outcome of The Open, Garcia has a lot to look forward to. He is getting married to girlfriend Angela Adkins late next week although he is adamant that will not be in his mind during this week’s championship.
“My thoughts are on The Open,” he confirmed. “Angela has been doing a great job of getting everything ready for the wedding. I’m just going to concentrate on the golf.”