He is one of only three men who can win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai title, but Sergio Garcia is giving himself only a “two per cent” chance of success at the series-ending DP World Tour Championship this weekend.
The Spaniard is third in the Race to Dubai rankings on 3,184,582 points, behind Englishmen Justin Rose in second and leader Tommy Fleetwood.
Even if Garcia can cap a marvelous 2017 – which began with him finally triumphing at a major, at April’s Masters – by lifting the trophy at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Sunday, the odds are still stacked firmly against him.
Win and the 37-year-old still requires Rose to finish outside the top four and Fleetwood to finish out of the top 20.
“No, I don’t even know. It doesn’t really bother me,” Garcia responded nonchalantly when asked by media in Dubai on Tuesday if he was aware of all the possible plot twists and scenarios needed to secure glory.
“It’s not going to change what I do. What I’m going to do is go out there and do what I do every week, which is to try and play the best I can, give myself the best option to win.
“I can’t control the way other people are going to play. Justin and Tommy are playing really well. I’m not expecting them to finish 40th or 50th. To be totally honest I probably see a two per cent chance of me winning, but that’s fine. I can live with it. It’s been a great year and that’s not going to change.”
As for 2017, it will certainly go down as one of the greatest in Garcia’s 19-year professional career – topped of course by that stunning success at Augusta National over Rose in a sudden death play-off.
The boy from Borriol had preceded that with a fine victory in the Emirates, at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, while the Andalucia Masters title at Valderrama followed last month on home soil.
“It’s been a wonderful year, not only on the golf course,” admitted El Nino, who denied finally landing one of golf’s top prizes had changed his mindset.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, winning the Masters and Dubai and Valderama, it always helps because it gives you extra confidence. It’s obviously a plus, but I don’t feel different on the golf course. I don’t walk taller, I don’t look at people differently.”
It’s been a terrific year for Spanish sport. Alongside Garcia’s Green Jacket, there’s been Rafael Nadal’s return to prominence, which saw him complete La Decima – a 10th French Open title – at Roland Garros as well as his US Open win. Marc Marquez, meanwhile, won a fourth MotoGP crown in five years at the weekend.
Garcia isn’t sure if there’s a Spanish equivalent of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, but if there was, his vote would go to Nadal.
“I would definitely be behind Rafa but hopefully I would be top five,” said Garcia.
“I’ve won some nice trophies from around the area where I’m from and some press awards. There’s one next year that is national and I’ve been mentioned for one, but I doubt it’s sportsman because I would give it to Rafa.
“I think I’ve done fairly well but I don’t think I’ve been the number one sportsman. We’re fortunate we have a lot.”
Winning a maiden major was something Garcia had been dreaming of for almost two decades.
Another thing that’s changed for the world No. 11 is his choice of clubs. After 15 years swinging with a set of TaylorMade clubs, the two parted ways last month.
Garcia said it was a mutual decision, saying TaylorMade’s split from parent company adidas in May played a part, while contract negotiations might also have been impacted by sponsorships given to other players.
“It wasn’t only my decision. I’ve spent 15 years with TaylorMade but things come to an end,” said Garcia, who has been playing since the split with Calloway clubs and will tee off in Dubai for the first time with a full set on Thursday – although a deal is not official.
“All companies change and there are politics, with adidas, and we couldn’t come to an agreement, so I understand. It’s also difficult when you have so many top players, to keep all of them. Unfortunately, we weren’t in the package.”
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