Golf: Garcia ready to be the groom

World No. 5 Sergio Garcia playing out of a bunker during a practice round at Royal Birkdale. He was runner-up at The Open in 2007 and 2014.
World No. 5 Sergio Garcia playing out of a bunker during a practice round at Royal Birkdale. He was runner-up at The Open in 2007 and 2014.PHOTO: REUTERS

Spaniard, twice a bridesmaid at The Open, is keen to lift Claret Jug ahead of his wedding

LONDON • Sergio Garcia is due to get married next week but the Spaniard insists that planning his wedding is not getting in the way of his preparations for the British Open.

Before the Spanish golfer ties the knot with fiancee Angela Akins in Texas, he is aiming to win the coveted Claret Jug for the first time, following some near misses in the past.

"Angela has been doing a great job of getting everything ready for the wedding. And obviously we're really excited for next week," the Masters champion said at Royal Birkdale on Monday.

"But we have something that we're also extremely excited about this week, and we want to be here giving everything we have and hopefully with a chance on Sunday."

The 37-year-old has been grouped with 2015 Open champion Zach Johnson and world No. 6 Jason Day of Australia in the first two rounds of this week's Open, which starts tomorrow.

He came to Birkdale as a teenage amateur in 1998 and has since come tantalisingly close to winning The Open.

I'M GOING FOR THE TROPHY

We have something that we're also extremely excited about this week, and we want to be here giving everything we have and hopefully with a chance on Sunday.

SERGIO GARCIA, Masters champion, wants to be a two-time Major champion when he marries Angela Akins in Texas next week.

He finished runner-up to Padraig Harrington at Carnoustie in a play-off in 2007 and was second, alongside Rickie Fowler, to Rory McIlroy at Hoylake in 2014.

But he shed his nearly-man tag this year by claiming his first Major title at Augusta in April, and even sported the green jacket on a recent trip to watch the tennis at Wimbledon.

Now he is eager to win more Majors, although he is proud of what he has achieved in his career, regardless.

"At the moment, the green jacket means more because I have it," he said. "But everybody knows how much I love The Open Championship. And I would love to at least have one of them before I hang up the boot. So definitely, it's something that I would like to achieve. And we're going to give it a shot this week.

"I've always said that consistency is one of my greatest attributes throughout my career. And of course I could have won more, but I think the consistency I've had for the last 18, 19 years is not that easy to do. And I think some people overlook that. Hopefully I can make that even better this week."

Something that the world No. 5 is well aware of is the recent success enjoyed by Spaniards on links courses.

After Jon Rahm won the Irish Open, Rafael Cabrera Bello took the Scottish Open on Sunday. That completed a fine sporting weekend for Spain, following Garbine Muguruza's triumph at Wimbledon.

"Spanish sport is at a good stage. It's been up there for a while. And obviously Rafa (Nadal) winning Roland Garros," said Garcia. "So it's been a fun year for Spanish sports, but for Spanish golf it's been great.

"It's very exciting to see guys that you're friendly with winning and fellow countrymen doing great things. So we're going to try to keep it up as much as possible."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2017, with the headline 'Garcia ready to be the groom'. Print Edition | Subscribe