Bernie McGuire at St. Andrews
Sergio Garcia will this week strive to achieve something he’s not been able to do in his very illustrious career and that is to win a professional event on Scottish soil.
Garcia announced himself to the golf world in capturing the 1998 British Amateur at Muirfield and then nine years later went close to winning golf’s oldest major losing out in a play-off to Padraig Harrington at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie.
This week the now 43-year-old Masters winner and a winner in 35 other pro career events again gets the chance to win on Scottish soil in the inaugural hosting of the 2023 St. Andrews Bay Championship.
If successfull, it would be a seventh Asian Tour title and he commented: “It would be nice to win [in Scotland] obviously I have been close a few times. If you count the Ryder Cup, yes, I have won here. It is something I would like to have the possibility of changing. We’ll give it our best shot.
“It is very exciting. Winning is one of the reasons why we are here,” he said.
“I have always enjoyed playing in Scotland. I love the crowds here and it’s good to see. I didn’t have to come and play this week, but I wanted to, it really drove me to come here.”
At a press conference, England’s Paul Casey said it hadn’t occurred to him how unusual it is for the Asian Tour to be in Scotland as major Tour’s today hold events all over the world, and Garcia felt the same.
“It is something you don’t really think about. We play in so many different places and so many different tours and I think at the end of the day the game is a global game, so I think that is the way I look at it. The Asian Tour is playing in a lot of spots now. I see it as a positive and something nice and it just shows how global our game is.
“And I am sure there are other places they want to go, and they have to find what fits best for everyone but it’s good to see and you never know maybe they will add one or two more here.”
The Spaniard claimed his first title in Asia in 2002 at the Korean Open, and he has been a regular visitor since.
His success in Asia also extends to the LIV Golf League: he captained the Fireball GC team to success in Bangkok last year, and narrowly missed securing his first individual title after being beaten by American Talor Gooch in a play-off in Singapore in April.
His adaptability to play and win anywhere is borne out by the fact that his Asian Tour wins have come in China, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
It is surprising that Scotland has yet to deliver him silverware but a win here this week will be the 37th of his career and his first since the 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship on the PGA Tour, plus his first on the Asian Tour since his memorable triumph at the Singapore Open in 2018, at Sentosa Golf Club – where the Asian Tour is headquartered.
Garcia tees off at 12.20pm tomorrow with American Harold Varner III and Anirban Lahiri from India.
For more information on the St Andrews Bay Championship please visit asiantour.com.