Sergio Garcia believes he has no point to prove in next week’s Ryder Cup in Paris, insisting he can’t just be judged by his performance on the course after controversially securing one of Thomas Bjorn’s wildcards.
The Spaniard was speaking as he prepared to play in the Portugal Masters – his first appearance since getting the nod over his compatriot, Rafa Cabrera Bello, and an on-form Matt Wallace for the last of the Dane’s picks for the eagerly-awaited clash at Le Golf National.
Garcia, who missed the cut in all four majors this season before failing to make the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Play-Offs, is hoping to use the event at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura to secure a timely confidence boost.
“I told Thomas, ‘if you end up picking me, I’ll make sure that I play something coming into the Ryder Cup’,” the 2017 Masters champion, who, somewhat devilishly, has been paired with Wallace in the opening two rounds, told europeantour.com. “I didn’t want to be without playing for four or five weeks coming into such a big and amazing event.
“Portugal seemed like a good fit and I’m happy that I decided to come here. Obviously the course is nice, it’s going to be a good test and I’m excited for it.
“I took a couple of weeks off and started practising again. The game feels pretty good. Obviously there are some things here and there that I would love to do a little bit better and that’s what I’m working on. The game overall feels good.
“It’s just a matter of hopefully getting some good momentum, start building on that. If I can do that then I can gain some confidence and some good rhythm, that’s the goal this week.
“Obviously getting a win would be amazing, you can’t beat confidence. That would be nice, but more than anything I just want to get some rhythm, get some competition juices flowing. That’s one of the main reasons that I wanted to come here.”
The 38-year-old will be making his ninth Ryder Cup appearance and has a chance to overtake Nick Faldo as Europe’s record point scorer at Le Golf National. His main goal, though, is helping the home side come out on top and Garcia reckons his role off the course can be just as important as what he achieves on it in the three-day tussle.
“I don’t need to show anyone,” he insisted. “The only thing I have to do is go out there and help Team Europe – my team-mates and my captain and vice captains – not only with the game on the golf course but outside, in the team room and everything.
“There are things that are important to have in a team. I think that is one of the reasons why Thomas picked me, not only because of the game he knows I can play, but what I can bring outside of the golf course into the team room and stuff.”
As Garcia bids to find some form, team-mate Justin Rose is heading into this week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta bidding to cement his new status as world No 1 by winning the FedEx Cup title and £7.6million bonus.
The Englishman already has one eye on the Ryder Cup, though, and feels the pain felt by Europe as they suffered a first defeat since 2008 at Hazeltine two years ago will be what drives them in bidding to claim back the coveted trophy in France.
“Home support is really important, I think that was a big difference at Hazeltine,” said Rose, speaking to Sky Sports News as he announced that Francesco Molinari, the Open Champion, will be playing in the British Masters at Walton Heath next month, when Rose is taking his turn as tournament host.
“The Americans wanted it really badly and the crowd were right behind them. We want it back badly now.
“Losing it has made us all more hungry again, no doubt about it. On paper I think the Americans are even stronger than they may have been in 2016, they are a great team, but we’re even stronger, too, and up for a challenge for sure,” added Rose.