Sergio Garcia believes he’s too old to be using the Irish and Scottish Opens as preparation for his bid to win the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale this summer.
The two Rolex Series events at Portstewart and Dundonald Links have been positioned on this season’s European Tour schedule to help the world’s top players get their games ready for the Claret Jug joust in Lanacashire.
However, Garcia revealed after getting his 2017 campaign off to a flying start with a three-shot victory in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic that it was unlikely either event will form part of his build up to the season’s third major.
“I’m 37 and I’m not getting any younger,” he told The Scotsman at Emirates Golf Club. “I’d love to play every week but unfortunately I can’t. I know what works for me and what doesn’t, so I don’t see my schedule changing that much.”
The Spaniard last played in the Scottish Open in 2007 at Loch Lomond, where he recorded four top-20s in five appearances, including second behind Colin Montgomerie in 1999. He has only played twice in the Irish Open since recording his first European Tour victory in that event in 1999. “If you can promise me that if I play those two, I’ll win The Open, then I’ll play them. But I know you can’t do that,” added Garcia, laughing.
Glenbervie’s Fraser Moore is celebrating the first victory of his professional career after winning on the Gecko Tour in Spain.
The 26-year-old triumphed at the second hole in a play-off to claim a £1,400 top prize at Westin La Quinta Golf in Marbella.
Moore carded rounds of 67 and 70 for a five-under-par total as he finished alongside Blane Breheny from England and Irishman Tommy O’Driscoll.
“My dream is to make it into the European Tour and to compete with the best golfers in the world,” said Moore.
“That’s why I’ve been working day in and day out. Last year I played in the Mena and the EuroPro Tours, and I will do that again this year.”
Moore’s success is the second by a Scot on the mini circuits in and Portugal and Spain in recent weeks after Wallace Booth returned to winning ways on the Algarve Tour.
The winners of the Scottish Men’s, Women’s, Boys’ and Girls’ Amateur Championships will all secure automatic spots in their respective Scotland Home Internationals sides from this season.
The change in selection policy follows the controversial decision to leave Carnoustie’s Ailsa Summers out of the Women’s Home Internationals last year despite her being the national champion.
“In all of our Scottish Amateur Championships, apart from the Senior Men’s, the winners will have come through head-to-head match-play format, which mirrors the style played at the Home Internationals,” said Scottish Golf’s acting head of performance, Stuart Clayton.
“We therefore feel the champion will have demonstrated the capabilities required to perform well at the Homes and thus would be deserving of an automatic place.”
English golf has been handed an £8.48 million boost on the back of Justin Rose becoming an Olympic champion.
The money is an award from Sport England to the England Golf Partnership (EGP) to “support talented players and encourage regular golfers to continue playing”.
The funding comes at a time when golf in England is enjoying a flourishing profile, thanks partly to Rose’s gold medal success in Rio last summer.
Membership is also reported to have increased at 30 per cent of clubs south of the Border.
“There are 3.6m golfers in England, and the game continues to produce many world-class players,” said EGP chairman Nic Coward.
Australian ace Jordan Zunic has joined major winners Danny Willett, Darren Clarke and Louis Oosthuizen in the International Sports Management stable.
The 25-year-old is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour of Australasia, with victories at the 2015 BMW New Zealand Open and last year’s Northern Territory PGA Championship.
Zunic also joins fellow Australians Todd Sinnott, Ben Eccles and Antonio Murdaca on ISM’s books.