Sergio Garcia acknowledges being reunited with his European Ryder Cup team-mates is exciting, yet will not let sentiment get in the way of his attempts to claim a first victory of the season at this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.
Garcia will be joined on the revered West Course by 10 of the men who completed the “Miracle of Medinah” last September in Chicago, as some of the world’s best battle it out for The European Tour’s flagship prize.
The Spaniard, who talked of his pleasure at being back within the unique ‘family’ atmosphere of The European Tour this week, is one of those who will expect to be in contention having shown outstanding consistency during 2013.
Despite not yet winning this campaign, the 33 year old Castellon man has not finished outside of the top 20 in six appearances on The European Tour this season, amassing three top ten finishes – the best of which a tied second at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in January.
“I'm very excited about it,” said the World Number 14. “Obviously here on The European Tour, this is the second biggest tournament after The Open Championship.
“There is an amazing group of players playing this week, on a tough golf course, so I'm excited about the week. I'm excited to take a nice look at the course tomorrow, as I did today, playing the front nine; it should be an exciting week.
“I think this year was obviously a bit extra special having all the players from The Ryder Cup here, being such a big event and so forth.
“So you know I just wanted to make a little bit of an extra effort to be sure we could make it here.”
Speaking about his season thus far, he added: “It has been a pretty solid start of the year. We have not had any wins but we've been close several times.”
For Garcia, Wentworth will likely prove more testing given he has not competed in the event since 2000.
The course has changed significantly since he last played a competitive round on it, with Ernie Els – another in the field this week – having made alterations in the winter of 2005 to 2006.
“I think that the Tour has been trying to have me back here for a while,” said Garcia. “Unfortunately it hasn't been able to happen.
“I've only played the front nine, and so I could see some differences from 2000. I think probably the back nine is where you see most of the big changes.
“But you can totally see that the course has become a much tougher course. You know, it used to be a lot of solid scoring situations that you could have out there. Now, you still have some but not as many as you used to; so you just have to be a little bit more careful with it I guess.”
Garcia, who like many of his Ryder Cup contemporaries also plies his trade on the US PGA Tour, also reflected on the special atmosphere prevalent on The European Tour, in evidence in spades this week at the idyllic Wentworth.
“I've played both tours for 14, 15 years now but I've always loved The European Tour,” said Garcia. “I love what The European Tour stands for; the feeling that you get on The European Tour, not only with the tournament, but the players, within the players and everything; it feels like it's a little bit closer together. It's a little bit more like a family.
“So that's some of the reasons why I play on The European Tour. I love coming back here and kind of disconnect from the U.S. a little bit and see my Spanish friends and Italian friends and Argentinians and so forth.”