2017 will go down as a very special year in the career of Sergio Garcia. For so long, the Spaniard had been one of Golf’s, and sport’s nearly men.
He had come so close to snagging the major title that his talent clearly deserved but had always fallen at the final hurdle. This seemingly left the Spaniard frustrated and worried he’d never get to the top. All of that pain and anguish however was erased in April as he put on the famous Green Jacket to win The Masters and claim that elusive major championship.
With the season drawing to a close Garcia was in a reflective move when talking to Sky Sports, telling them, “I think 2017 and 2008 are definitely the best years I’ve had in my career.” Garcia though is not quite ready to consign this year to the history books. He is set to play one last tournament this weekend, at the Australian PGA Championship. He will be aiming to win his first title in Australia having already picked up wins in 14 other countries over the course of his nearly 20-year professional career.
He will be faced with a very strong field including 2015 Open Championship runner up Marc Leishman, four-time PGA tour winner Jonas Blixt and 2013 Masters winner (and home favourite) Adam Scott. It’s a very tough tournament to call so make sure to check out these betting tips for the lowdown on who to back in Queensland. With so little time left in the season, every bet counts to ensure that your 2017 ends as successfully as possible. This time of the season is always unpredictable so it makes sense to defer to the tipping experts.
The home crowd will be very excited to catch a glimpse of 22-year-old Cameron Davis who stunned the spectators at last week’s Australian Open with a final round of seven under par to win. His round included an incredible eagle, where he found the cup with his approach shot from over 100 yards away.
Last year’s tournament produced a bit of surprise as American Harold Varner III managed his first ever professional victory to take home the title as well as the 1.5 million Australian dollar prize. He has not had the best of years since but is hoping to be able to conjure the same magic that allowed him to hold off Andrew Dodt to claim the crown.
For Garcia, winning the tournament would be little more than icing on the cake that has been this season. It would though, be a surprise, to see the superstar giving anything less than 100% to lift the trophy come Sunday. He hasn’t played in Australia since 2010 so may well feel that he owes the crowd something special.
He has twice come very close when playing down under, finishing third in both the Johnnie Walker Classic in 2002 and the Australian Masters in 2000. A lot has changed since then, when he was still a fresh-faced youngster on the tour; but what hasn’t altered is his infectious smile and his ability to always look on the bright side. Whatever happens in Australia Sergio Garcia will be able to look back on 2017 with huge pride.
Matt Cooper looks back at the Qatar Masters of 1999, then a new desert event that provides a clue about the oldest tournament of them all.