Sergio Garcia has insisted he was right to jeopardise his Ryder Cup selection by missing the Made In Denmark tournament.
Captain Thomas Bjorn named Garcia as one of his four European team wildcard picks on Wednesday, completing the 12-strong line-up to face America in Paris from September 28-30.
Revealing his delight and relief at joining Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson as Europe’s wildcards, Garcia defended his decision to snub a chance for automatic qualification by sitting out the August 30 to September 2 Denmark tournament.
The Spaniard believes he will arrive in Paris rested and ready to lock horns with the Americans in a way he would not have been able to had he shouldered more tournament golf in the build-up.
“Unfortunately because of how the year went I had to play five weeks in a row in the summer, eight weeks out of 10 – and I’m not 25 any more, I’m 38,” said Garcia.
“I knew I was putting my position at risk, but at the same time I told Thomas I want to get to the Ryder Cup at 100 per cent.
“I don’t know how to play a Ryder Cup flat, and if I’m going to play a Ryder Cup flat I’m not going to help the team.
“I need to rest for two weeks then play a little bit before that and get to Paris with the best chance possible.
“He understood obviously, it didn’t make sense for me to play Denmark.
“Unfortunately things didn’t work out the way I would have loved, I had to make some hard decisions, but we’re here now and able to focus on bringing as much as possible to the team.
“To be able to be a part of a Ryder Cup team, it’s amazing, so I’m very proud; very thankful for being picked.
“I’m thrilled and now want to help my team again to make sure we have the best possibility of winning the Ryder Cup back.”
Garcia is the first European to win Ryder Cup selection having missed the cut at all four Majors in the season.
Fellow wildcard pick Poulter backed Bjorn’s selection however, insisting: “If you look at the highlights of what Sergio has brought to the European Ryder Cup team through the years, that’s why he was obviously picked to join the team.
“Incredible amounts of experience, a lot of points, an incredible amount of passion to the team.
“It’s hard to explain to the rookies how they are going to feel and how big a stage the Ryder Cup really is. You definitely need guys like Sergio in the team who can help these guys to be able to feel comfortable.”
Delighting in being back in the Ryder Cup team having acted as a vice-captain in defeat two years ago, Poulter said he is hungry for further success against America.
“It’s really motivated me hugely; being vice captain last time was difficult,” said Poulter.
“I enjoyed it just to be part of a Ryder Cup team still, that was pretty special.
“But to be 200 in the world and looking at the Ryder Cup from afar, it was pretty motivating to get my game back in shape, play with some passion and reignite the fire to get back into this Ryder Cup team.
“It’s been an amazing journey the last two years and one I’ve been very proud of to get back into this team.”
Tiger Woods admitted he never imagined being in contention in consecutive majors after threatening to pull off one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time in the US PGA Championship.
Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery in April last year and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence the following month when he was found asleep at the wheel of his car.
The 42-year-old, who had five prescription drugs in his system, later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and will spend a year on probation and undergo a diversion programme.
Woods only returned to competitive golf in November but held a one-shot lead with eight holes to play in the Open at Carnoustie and finished just two behind Brooks Koepka after a thrilling final round of 64 at Bellerive Country Club.
“I was in contention in the last two majors and would never have foreseen that a year ago and I’m just so thankful to be here,” Woods said.
“I didn’t know what my schedule would be. I didn’t know how many tournaments I would play this year, or if I would even play. So each tournament brought about its own challenges.
“At the beginning of the year if you would say I would have a legit chance to win the last two major championships, I’d say with what swing? I didn’t have a swing at the time. I had no speed. My putting was OK but God, I hadn’t played in two years. So it’s been a hell of a process for sure.”
Woods began the final round four shots behind Koepka and closed to within a shot three times, but Koepka crucially birdied the 15th and 16th before a wayward drive on the par-five 17th cost Woods the chance of a birdie himself.
“I was pretty ticked at the British Open,” Woods added. “I had the lead there. This one I never quite got to the lead. I was always trailing. I had to keep making birdies. I had to go get it and I tried.
“The drive on 17… I didn’t drive it good all day. I was struggling with my golf swing. I warmed up hitting it left, I was hitting it right. So I knew this was going to be a struggle to try and piece together around and I did.”
Tiger Woods admits he will have plenty of homework to do as he looks to claim a 15th major title in the US PGA Championship.
Woods was among the players due to compete at Bellerive Country Club in 2001 when the WGC-American Express Championship was cancelled due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The 42-year-old also missed the 2008 BMW Championships at the same venue due to injury and was only able to play five holes in practice before his pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday due to thunderstorms.
“I literally haven’t set foot on this golf course since that week in 2001,” Woods said. “I didn’t get up here pre British Open and yesterday [Monday] I took the day off.
“Today we only got in five holes and didn’t really get a chance to see a whole lot, so I’ll have to do some more homework tomorrow and get a good feel for what’s going on for the rest of the week.
“I needed that day off. I spent a few times in the ice bath just trying to get some inflammation down and just trying to get ready for the rest of the week.
“There’s going to be certain days that I’m just not going to have the speed and the flexibility and the movement that I once did. I’m 42 now and I’ve had four back surgeries. So things are going to be different from day-to-day, and it’s just about managing it.”