Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Sergio Garcia  (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia begins his 19th season on the European Tour this week at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and insists the hunger that made him one of the best players in the world is still in his gut.

The Spaniard made his first appearance in Dubai as a 19 year old in 1999, the same season he burst onto the scene with two European Tour wins and a second-placed finish at the US PGA Championship.

Since then he has added a further nine European Tour titles and been a part of five victorious Ryder Cup Teams, as well as finishing second in Major Championships on another three occasions.

That elusive Major is the only thing missing from Garcia's CV and now at 37 years of age, he is still confident he can compete at the very top.

"The hunger is still there," he said. "I still want to keep achieving things. I still want to keep becoming a better golfer when it comes down to my career.

"I think that fortunately for me, I'm still in good shape. Physically I'm still doing well. I've been able to avoid injuries for pretty much my whole career, so that's always a positive.

"I'm excited to keep improving, keep giving myself chances at winning tournaments, winning Majors and then just give the best that I have got in me."

This will be Garcia's eighth appearance at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and while he is still searching for a first top ten in the event, he feels the conditions can suit him.

"I am obviously very excited to be back in Dubai," he added. "The course looks great and the weather's great. So we're enjoying it as much as possible.

I'm excited to keep improving, keep giving myself chances at winning tournaments, winning Majors - Sergio Garcia

"The forecast is for some strong winds throughout the week. I've always enjoyed challenging conditions and if the high winds come, it will be challenging. I think it plays probably to my strengths."

Tiger Woods is in action in Dubai this week, with the 14-time Major Championship winner playing his first European Tour event after 15 months out of the game with back problems.

Woods and Garcia have had some great battles on the course over the years but Garcia believes it will be difficult for Woods to again hit the incredible heights of 2000 and 2001 when he completed the Tiger Slam.

"I think that Tiger has obviously got a lot of qualities and he can get to a high level, but the way he played like in early 2000 and stuff like that, it is difficult," he said.

"I think to get to that level is very difficult, even for him, because he's 40 now. So his body doesn't move the way it used to move when he was 20, 25."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GARCIA, SergioESP18-19
2STENSON, HenrikSWE18-16
T3JENSEN, LasseDEN18-14
T3HATTON, TyrrellENG18-14
T5UIHLEIN, PeterUSA18-12

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