Masters Champion Sergio Garcia returns to Australia after seven years to make his debut in the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort from 30 November – 3 December.
The World Number 11 last played a tournament Down Under in 2010 in the Australian Masters where he finished just inside the top-30.
Now with the coveted Green Jacket in his wardrobe, the Spaniard is expected to make a big splash in the competitive field that includes the 2013 Masters Champion Adam Scott and World Number 13 Marc Leishman.
“I’m obviously also very excited to be back in Australia, a part of Australia that I’ve never been to, so it’s great fun,” Garcia said.
“What we’ve seen, it’s obviously beautiful. But I think the whole Australia is beautiful, one of my favorite countries. So we’re extremely happy to be back here and going to enjoy the week, for sure.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t been here for a while, so it’s nice to be back. I’ve always liked the courses that we play. I’m excited to see the course tomorrow. So like I said earlier, excited for the week and it will be a great one.”
Sergio Garcia https://t.co/gutCqeXs07
— PGA of Australia (@PGAofAustralia) November 28, 2017
Before that fateful day at Augusta in April, Garcia was often touted as one of the best players to never win a major.
He’s often held great expectations from the golfing world and now that the monkey is off his back he doesn’t predict those outside pressures to win to subside, and remains focused on his own goals.
“Fortunately or unfortunately for me, that expectation and that kind of outside pressure has always been there.
“So the way I look at it is, I’m extremely honored to call myself the Masters champion and to try to help the game of golf not only in Spain but all over the world. I think at the end of the day what matters is what I expect from myself.
“I know what I want to do and if someone comes to me and says, next year you should win six times and one or two majors, I know what I want to do and I know where my expectations are and I know what I need to improve on.”
He said he’s by no means losing his competitive edge and is confident as to what other lofty heights he can reach on the international stage.
“I know that my game is still in great shape. And I’m still fairly young, so I can still achieve many, many things,” added Garcia.
“But it’s fun to be able to have those possibilities and kind of put some nice expectations for yourself.”
The Green Jacket will make its debut on the green carpet tonight for the Greg Norman Medal Dinner where Garcia will be a guest of the PGA of Australia.
The magnitude of wearing such a coveted item of clothing in the golfing world is certainly not lost on him.
“It’s been a little bit overwhelming I would say. It also shows you the respect that you need to give to that Green Jacket,” added Garcia.
“You know, once you become a Masters champion, there’s a lot of things that you have to be careful. You have to take care of it, you have to know that a lot of eyes are on you even more than before and you want to show what’s best not only for yourself but for the game.”
Garcia is yet to play on the Graham Marsh designed RACV Royal Pines Resort course but has got the inside mail from his close friend on the PGA TOUR Adam Scott.
He said he expects his short game to get a workout from what he has heard.
“I’ve heard the greens are tricky. I’ve heard the greens are where the course really defends itself. So obviously it’s going to be a week where iron play is going to be key to be accurate and try to leave yourself in the best spots on the greens.
“And then when you miss some of those greens, well, then you’re going to have some tricky chips. I heard it’s quite grainy around the greens so your strike has to be extremely accurate and to be able to hit good chips and hit it close to the hole.
“So it’s just a matter of, like I said, probably iron play is going to be key and just when you miss a green here and there, chipping and putting is going to be important.”
For full tee times visit pga.org.au
General admission to the Australian PGA Championship is $25* when purchased at the gate or via Ticketmaster with children, 16 and under, granted free admission when attending with a paying adult.
Since Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman were announced to play the Australian PGA Championship, Saturday and Sunday tickets to the Lexus Marquee on the Soniq Million Dollar Hole and the Kirkwood Club have sold out.
Fans who want to join in the festival atmosphere are encouraged to book tickets from Thursday to Friday quickly due to unprecedented demand.