Ryder Cup LogoRyder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Story Image Sergio Garcia in practice on Wednesday

Garcia Blows Hot For Ryder Cup

Spaniard nicknamed 'El Nino' talks of his favourite competition and his love for Europe and shooting in the breeze, which was certainly prevelant Wednesday at the K Club.

Steven Franklin, Press Officer
20 September 2006

There was a lot of wind about at The K Club on Wednesday. First, Hurricane Gordon tore across County Kildare and then Sergio Garcia, the man nicknamed El Niño, blew into the Ryder Cup Media Centre to talk passionately about his “favourite competition” and his ability for playing golf in blustery conditions.

The Spaniard had just partnered Luke Donald of England during Europe’s nine-hole practice session and declared that they had an enjoyable time despite the strong wind and rain.

“As tough as it was out there, it was quite enjoyable. It was fun,” declared Garcia, who at 26 is preparing for his fourth appearance in The Ryder Cup.

We should not be surprised by such sentiments as the feeling persists that Garcia would play anywhere, and in any weather, if it meant the chance of representing Europe.

“It’s just a special event,” he said. “We only play it every two years and that makes it even more special because you don’t get to play it too often. It’s quite difficult to qualify for it, to get into the team.

“If you add everything and mix it up, it just makes for an unbelievable week. I’ve been fortunate enough to win two of them, and just the experiences I’ve had in the Ryder Cup have been great; how close you get to your playing partners; how much you share in that week.

“Even the one we lost at Brookline was great, too. For me it was really nice as it was my first one. I was just out on Tour and I really got to know a lot of the top players. So that for me was one of the best experiences of my life, even though we lost.”

Wednesday’s atrocious weather did nothing to dampen Garcia’s spirit for the battles ahead. If anything, he felt uplifted by the gusting winds driving across County Kildare.

“If I could choose, I would take the rain away, but I’ve always enjoyed these kinds of conditions. You’re hitting some drives that are going 340 yards with no roll, and you get to the next hole and you’re hitting a 140 yard 7 iron. So it just changes dramatically.

“I think it brings a lot of you. It brings your feel into play, your creativity. So I’ve always enjoyed that kind of play. When the wind has been blowing at the British Open I've always felt like I could move up the leaderboard a bit easier than if I had to just play normal golf, where it’s pretty much just hit it close and put it in.”

Playing under the blue and yellow of Europe also seems to bring the best out of the fiery Spaniard.

Garcia has won individual titles across the globe - six on The European Tour and another six on the US PGA Tour – but he thrives in the arena of team match play evidenced by his Ryder Cup record of ten wins, two halved matches and only three losses.

“I think the most important thing is that I am playing for Europe and we are all playing for Europe. When we get out there we’re thinking about our team-mates, we’re trying as hard as we can for our team-mates, and you know, I think it’s important to make sure that your team-mates feel that you really care about them and how you’re trying your hardest.

“I’ve said it before and I will always say it; I will go five losses and zero wins playing five games if that means we’re going to beat the American team. I would rather go that way than have five wins, zero losses and we lose The Ryder Cup. At the end of the day, it’s about that.”

So that was that. A day which was dominated by the wind finished with a man who is dominated by the win.

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