Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Glory Is Still in Garcia's Grasp

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Glory Is Still in Garcia's Grasp

Article excerpt

Byline: By PHILIP TALLENTIRE

JOSE Maria Olazabal says he still believes "very strongly" that Sergio Garcia will go on to major glory.

Garcia has not had a top-three finish in America or Europe since losing a four-shot lead and then a play-off to Padraig Harrington in last July's Open at Carnoustie.

Even more of a surprise and a concern is that he has not won anywhere since 2005 - and while he still holds a place in the world's top 15, one American reporter was prompted to write recently "Sergio Garcia isn't relevant any more".

But, heading into the Masters, Olazabal's advice to his Ryder Cup partner of two years ago is straightforward - 'One; pay no attention to outsiders, two; you have the talent'.

"I believe he will win a major - I believe so very strongly," said the double Masters champion, whose return to tournament golf after seven months out battling rheumatism has come just in time for him to be part of the Augusta action again.

"We saw last year he has the game. Obviously he is struggling with his putting, and it's his weakest point at the moment. But to me, he's an excellent player and he has to be patient.

"When he first came on tour he putted really well and that was one of his strengths.

"He must get fed up of people asking now. But he has to put all those things away and when anybody asks him about his putting just be polite.

"We all know he can play wonderfully well tee to green, and at the end of the day it's down to making a putt here or there."

Garcia turned professional at the age of 19 in 1999 after producing the best performance ever by a European amateur in the Masters - 38th place in the same week that Olazabal, having overcome crippling arthritis, won his second title.

Four months later, with a European Tour title to his name already, the prodigy was runner-up to Tiger Woods in the US PGA - and a month after that, he was the youngest ever player in the Ryder Cup. Not only that, he won his first three matches. …

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