Sergio Garcia plays down European No 1 chance

Sergio Garcia talks with Peter Dawson, former chief executive of the R&A, during the Pro-Am prior to the DP World Tour Championship. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Sergio Garcia talks with Peter Dawson, former chief executive of the R&A, during the Pro-Am prior to the DP World Tour Championship. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
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Sergio Garcia insists he has no regrets at leaving himself just a two per cent chance of winning the Race to Dubai for the first time as he gets to grips with a surprising change of equipment.

Garcia can finish the season as European No 1 by claiming a fourth win of the season in the DP World Tour Championship, but only if leader Tommy Fleetwood is outside the top 12 and Justin Rose fourth or worse.

The Masters champion has not played since victory in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, an event hosted by his own foundation, and therefore missed three lucrative Rolex Series events.

And, given that he is playing with new equipment on a Jumeirah Golf Estates course which is not one of his favourites, that two per cent chance of topping the money list could even be somewhat optimistic.

“Winning the Race to Dubai would be great but I’m not going to change my whole life for it,” the 37-year-old said 
of his refusal to alter his 
schedule. “I’m happy finishing second, third, fourth or wherever I finish at the end of the week.

“I don’t even know [the permutations]. It doesn’t really bother me. What I’m going to do is go out there and try to do the same as every other week, which is play the best I can and give myself the best option of winning this week.

“I can’t control what 
other people do. Obviously both Tommy and Justin are playing really well so I’m not expecting them to finish 40th or 50th.

“To be totally honest, I see a two per cent chance of me winning the Race to Dubai. But I’m fine with it, I can live with it. It has been a great year and that’s not going to change.”

What is changing is Garcia’s equipment after his 15-year association with TaylorMade came to an end, with the Spaniard suggesting lucrative deals given to other players was a key factor. Parent company Adidas sold TaylorMade in May, the same month in which Rory McIlroy signed a ten-year, multi-million pound TaylorMade contract. Tiger Woods joined the company in January.

“I guess all companies change and the politics with TaylorMade have changed after leaving Adidas,” added
Garcia, who won his first major title at Augusta National in April. “We couldn’t come to an agreement.”

Garcia will use Callaway equipment for the first time in competition this week and, although no deal has been signed, a formal agreement looks set to follow.

His compatriot, Jon Rahm, heads into this week’s event on a high after joining the illustrious list of winners of the European Tour’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.

“Never in a million years would I have expected what I’ve done this year,” said Rahm, who joins the likes of Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie,
Garcia and Martin Kaymer in claiming the accolade.

Other winners include Bernard Gallacher, Sam Torrance and Marc Warren.