Sergio Garcia makes his first European Tour appearance of 2019 this week at the 30th anniversary edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, and the Spanish superstar arrives at Emirates Golf Club confident of claiming a fifth title in 24 months.
The 39 year old claimed his first of three victories in 2017 this time two years ago in Dubai, three months before clinching his maiden Major Championship title at the 2017 Masters Tournament. He then put the icing on the cake of a career-defining campaign by winning the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by his own charitable foundation.
Having defended his title at Valderrama last October, he has since finished runner-up at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player followed by two top ten finishes including at the 2019 season-opening Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi in November.
Understandably, the Ryder Cup record-breaker is in buoyant mood as he joins a field which includes 2017 Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood, World Number Five Bryson DeChambeau, last week’s winner in Abu Dhabi, Shane Lowry, and a host of Ryder Cup stars and multiple European Tour winners.
“Obviously I won a couple years ago, started off a great year. I’m excited to be back and I’m just hoping to go out there and play well, have a solid week and see if we can have another shot at that beautiful trophy.
“The game feels good. I played last week in Singapore – it was pretty good for the most part, a couple things here and there obviously a little bit rusty but other than that it was a nice week. We finished tied seventh. It was a good start of the year. Now, bigger things come around, and you have to keep the momentum going and that’s what we’re going to try to do.
“I’ve always liked this golf course. Funnily enough, until two years ago, I always felt like I played better than I probably scored or finished. Obviously two years ago, it was really fun and great to get that victory here finally. I think it’s a solid golf course. It’s the kind of golf course that if you drive it well, it gives you opportunities to make birdies.”
“It’s an honour to be back here and I’m super excited. Dubai is an incredible place that I love coming back to, especially coming here after two years ago. The food here is great.
“I obviously played well on this golf course here a couple years ago. I didn’t putt very well but I think we figured out why that is for this year. I’m looking forward to a really good week. The game is in great shape, I’m hitting it well, putting it well. I’m honestly just excited to try and capture an international victory. That’s really what I want to do this week.
“I’ve set my sights on an international win, and then also majors, for sure. Coming off two top-ten finishes not playing my best, I think there’s obviously room for improvement and if I’m able to successfully improve a little bit here and there with putting and iron play, and make the correct adjustments this week that the course affords me, I’ll be right there at the end of the week. I just have to finish the job.”
“It’s amazing, the golf course here, how it’s stood the test of time. Most courses we have been to for 30 years have changed routing plans or greens or new holes been built or new greens been built or whatever.
“This hasn’t and it shows what a great design and what a great setup it was 34 years ago when it first was designed.
“Still to this day, it remains one of the best courses we play. So everybody has a real pat on the back for what they have done here and continue to do so. It’s one of the ones that everybody out there on the range wants on their CV, to win the Dubai Desert Classic. It’s a big event on our tour, and hopefully it will remain so for many, many years.”