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Sergio Garcia
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Europe

Experienced Garcia relishing Ryder Cup role

Sergio Garcia will tie Ryder Cup legend Seve Ballesteros as the most capped Spaniard in the history of the biennial match play contest when he makes his eighth appearance at Hazeltine National later this month.

It goes without saying, almost, that the 36 year old is still as enthusiastic as ever about participating in the showpiece event.

Garcia, who has won an impressive 20.5 points from his seven appearances, was an automatic qualifier for Darren Clarke’s European side after a solid 2016 season which saw the 11-time European Tour winner finish in the top five at both the US Open and The Open Championship.

Garcia is looking forward to working with the six rookies Clarke has in his side, and sees Team Europe’s mix of experience and new blood as something to be positive about.

“Our team is quite young, but I think it’s going to be a great mix of experience with some of the younger guys and rookies getting a great taste for it,” he said.

“Our job as experienced Ryder Cup players is to make sure that those rookies feel as comfortable as possible; that they feel surrounded by teammates that care about them and feel for them.

“If we can manage to do that then the only thing they have to do is go and do what they do every week, which is to play great golf. It’s something that they will never forget.”

Garcia’s love for The Ryder Cup is well known, and that passion and energy has often translated into positive results for the Spaniard, even when he was one of Colin Montgomerie’s vice-captains in 2010 at Celtic Manor – the only Ryder Cup he has not played in since he made his debut as a fresh-faced teenager at Brookline in 1999.

“I think it’s the best event we have in golf, no doubt about it,” he said. “The atmosphere is just amazing, not only for the players but for the crowds as well.

“It’s also very difficult to qualify for and as it’s every two years it makes it even more impressive and enjoyable when you get the chance to play for Europe.”