SOUTHPORT, England – Is destiny at play in this week’s Open Championship?
Sergio Garcia certainly hopes so.
The Masters winner turns up for his 21st attempt at winning the game’s greatest golf championship hoping to ride a Spanish wave to his first old Claret Jug.
The 37-year-old is hoping to make it a trifecta of Spanish links wins following Jon Rahm’s Irish Open victory at Portstewart and Rafa Cabrera-Bello’s playoff victory over Callum Shinkwin at Dundonald last week.
Rahm claimed his first PGA Tour victory in the Farmers Insurance Open. Garcia also points to further Spanish sporting success with Garbine Muguruza winning the women’s Wimbledon singles title and Rafa Nadal claiming the French Open.
“It’s been a fun year for Spanish sports,” Garcia said. “But for Spanish golf it’s been great. I want to say it’s probably the winningest year we’ve had for Spanish golf between the PGA Tour and European Tour, or one of them. So it’s very exciting to see guys you’re friendly with winning and fellow countrymen doing great things.”
Garcia has a rich history in the Open Championship from his debut as an amateur in 1996. He has 10 top 10s, including runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2014. He lost a playoff with Padraig Harrington for the former and finished two shots behind Rory McIlroy at Royal Liverpool in the latter.
Asked if an old Claret Jug would mean more than a gaudy green jacket, Garcia prevaricated.
“It’s difficult to say,” he said. “I think they’re both amazing. At the moment, the green jacket means more because I have it, but everybody knows how much I love the Open Championship. I would love at least one of them before I kind of hang up the boots.
“It’s definitely something I would like to achieve. We’re going to give it a shot this week. But that’s like saying who do you love more, your dad or your mom? So it’s a difficult question to answer.
“Winning the Masters was amazing and it does give you a little bit of extra confidence, and I’ve been having a very solid year.
“I’m obviously excited about it. I’m confident about my possibilities, but I can’t tell you if I’m going to be right up there on Sunday with a chance. I’m hoping that I will be but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that every week. At the end of the day you also have to realize that after winning Augusta you still want to push hard and get more majors.”
Will Garcia’s Masters win and Spain’s summer of success finally get him over the winning line in the Open Championship? Watch this space.