Garcia excited as ever to compete at ‘tough’ Valderrama

Spain’s Sergio Garcia will hope his love affair with Valderrama Golf Club continues this week when he tees it up in his home event – the Andalucia Valderrama Masters – searching for a 15th European Tour victory.

Garcia has won twice at Valderrama Golf Club in his professional career, first in 2011 and again in 2017.

The track also hosted the first ever Ryder Cup in continental Europe in 1997 and Garcia has often referred to that edition of the event as the one that triggered his passion for Ryder Cup golf, even though he was just a spectator.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s start, Garcia explained that Valderrama was one of his favourite courses because of how demanding it is.

“I love the way this course plays,” Garcia said.

“I love how tough it is even though it’s not a long golf course.

“It’s just testing you and every part of your game, which is always good fun.

“There are courses that I love playing and Valderrama is one of the favourites so I love playing here.”

As for his part in Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph over the USA at Le Golf National at the end of September in which he became Europe’s all-time leading points scorer, Garcia added that he was extremely grateful for the opportunity to be apart of another Ryder Cup but warned that he still wants to achieve plenty more in the game.

“It was great to beat the record,” Garcia went on.

“Not only because I’m on top of some amazing players, some of my idols, but because it means that I was able to help the European team for a long time and that’s what makes me proud.

“To help the team win as many times as we have lately – it’s always an honour.

“I don’t think my attitude has changed. There are still many things that I can accomplish. I’m very happy and thankful for the career that I have had so far.”

Garcia is the overwhelming favourite to win this week. His biggest threats are expected to be Shane Lowry, Padriag Harrington and Lee Westwood.