Garcia - Hopefully I inspire the players
Sergio Garcia is eager to strike up another great Ryder Cup partnership as he prepares to tee it up for the ninth time at Le Golf National.
The Spaniard was handed a Captain's Pick by Thomas Bjørn and could become Europe's all-time top points-scorer this week, with three taking him past the record of Sir Nick Faldo.
Of Garcia's 22½ points, 19 of them have come in the foursomes or fourballs and he has been part of some truly great Ryder Cup duos.
He won 3½ points alongside Swede Jesper Parnevik on his debut in 1999 before going on to form formidable teams with Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, and admits having a plaing partner brings out the best in him.
“I like to have someone around me,” he said. “That's one of the reasons why I've enjoyed foursomes and fourballs because I feel like it's nice to have someone around that you can put your arm around and kind of cheer yourself on.
“I get inspired by them, there's no doubt, and hopefully I inspire them and make them feel comfortable, make them enjoy it a little bit more. That's what I always try to do and that's probably one of the reasons why I've been fairly successful with my partnerships in Ryder Cups, with many different ones.
“Fortunately for me and Europe, I've been able to do well with pretty much all of them, so that's always nice.”
Bjørn admitted when selecting Garcia that he did not pick him purely for his ability on the course but for his presence off it in the team room and beyond.
The 2017 Masters Tournament winner knows and embraces that role, and insists he has nothing to prove after not making the Team automatically.
“I think that I've proved myself over and over and the only thing I can do out there is when I get called upon playing, just do my best, do what I do, do what I've always done here at Ryder Cups and that's everything,” he said.
“If we are able to do that and play well then we'll have a good chance. If not, we'll have to fight really hard.”
Spain has a long history of producing great, passionate Ryder Cup players and this year Jon Rahm will make his bow after a stunning start to his professional career.
In just two years since joining the paid ranks, the 23 year old has won three European Tour titles and reached as high as Number Two in the Official World Golf Ranking but he knows the Ryder Cup will be a whole new experience.
“It's a lot of emotions running through me right now but obviously it's an incredible sense of accomplishment just to be here,” he said. “A great sense of pride and humility at the same time because we know how much it takes to be in this situation and I couldn't be any happier to be sharing this with the team-mates that I have.”
Rahm is one of five rookies on this year's Team but Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Noren and Thorbjørn Olesen all have serious winning pedigree, and Rahm has no concerns.
“When it comes to the rookies, what can I say? he said. “Two of those are Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren, two of the best players in the world the last two years: Race to Dubai champion, Alex has won it seems like ten times the last three years. They have both won the French Open.
“And Tyrrell Hatton, somebody who has been in great form the last two years. Myself, I've had great performances here, and Thorbjørn Olesen, who has won pretty much every year the last few years. I mean, it's a pretty good time to have five rookies, I would say.”