No added pressure as Garcia goes for title defence
Garcia was named the European Tour Golfer of the Year last year,
Dubai - The Spaniard won the Desert Classic last year to end a three-year drought since the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
By James Jose
Published: Wed 24 Jan 2018, 9:07 PM
Last updated: Wed 24 Jan 2018, 11:12 PM
Sergio Garcia said that there was no added pressure on him as he goes about his title defence of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic from Thursday.
The Spaniard won the Desert Classic last year to end a three-year drought since the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. His three-stroke victory over former Dubai resident and 2007 winner Henrik Stenson set off a sparkling run which saw the 38-year-old win his first Major - the Masters at Augusta.
Garcia had near misses until then with tied fourth at the Masters in 2004, tied second place finishes at The Open Championship in 2007 and 2014 and two tied second places at the PGA Championship in 1999 and 2008. He has also finished tied third at the US Open in 2005.
Garcia, who also won the Andalucia Valderrama Masters to make it three wins last year, will be aiming to become only the second golfer after Stephen Gallacher to defend the Desert Classic title after the Scot had done it in 2013 and 2014.
"It's obviously good to be back here in Dubai defending my title," Garcia said at the Majlis Course of the Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday.
"Beautiful weather, the course looks great and the greens are rolling very nicely. They are quite firm, firmer than they were last year already on Wednesday. It's going to be interesting to see how we can cope with that," he added.
Garcia felt no pressure as he aims to defend the title. "I think that every week, we come out here and we try to do our best, play the best we can every single week, and that's the same thing I'm going to do this week.
"I'm going to keep trying hard, keep challenging myself to achieve things, and hopefully I can play as well as I did last year and have another chance at winning again here. It would be great, but we'll see what the week will bring us," he said.
Garcia, who was named the European Tour Golfer of the Year last year, is using new equipment this season after making the switch from TaylorMade to Callaway.
Normally, it does take a while to get used to new equipment but Garcia said that the transition has been smooth.
"To be totally honest, no, it hasn't been difficult. Callaway has amazing equipment. So that makes it easy. When you like what you see when you look down, you know, it obviously helps. I think the biggest question mark for me was the golf ball, but I'm really happy with this new golf ball. Obviously played last week for the first time and it felt amazing. Obviously I practised with it earlier but I played with it in a tournament. It is exciting. I'm obviously very pleased with the move, and you know, hopefully we can keep having more weeks like last week," said Garcia, who won the SMBC Singapore Open, to start the year.