Sergio garcia (Borriol, Castellón. 1980) will play from this Friday in Kohler (Wisconsin) his tenth Ryder cup: 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 (in 2010 he was vice captain). The man from Castellón is transformed when this biennial competition arrives in which he made history three years ago in Paris by setting the record for points added with 25.5, 62% of all disputed, with a balance of 22 wins, 7 draws and 12 defeats. Sergio answers the call from CVBJ.biz to review 22 years of experiences in a unique event, for which he feels authentic passion and in which it is already a living history of Ryder.
When you look back 22 years, what is the first thing you think of the Ryder Cup?
First, my debut. Then energy, an incredible energy, a sensation experienced among the teammates that I had never noticed before, that does not exist for example in a football team … Also, how much fun we had, although we lost, they brought us back on the final day of Sunday but After so long I can assure you that it was a week that I will never forget.
Is it possible to keep any edition? 2002: the first after the attack on the Twin Towers, the 2004 beating on American soil, the Medinah miracle in 2012 …
There are many, it is difficult to choose just one because each one has something that makes it special. But since you ask me to keep one, I would choose the last one, the one in Paris, for several reasons: for the city, for the atmosphere, with the stadium-type tee, the animation on the field and the people shouting your name … It was a show; It was also special because of the route and the time. And on top of that we played wonderfully! I was not in my best moment but I immediately got the energy that the Ryder gives you and I was able to help the team by adding 3 points and beating the total record, but the record for me is in the background, the main objective was to recover the cup as it were. The record is very good but it is not as important as winning the Ryder.
Tell me the captain, of the nine you have had, the one that has reached you the most, the one with which you have connected the most.
Each one contributed a lot to me, and each one has been logically different. Mark James (the first in 1999) and Sam Torrance (2002) were the most talkative, the funniest, they were serious of course but they always made a lot of jokes. Obviously Txema (Olazábal, 2012) was very emotional, because of the speeches in the ‘team room’ that made you cry. With Txema you could see how much Ryder meant to him, how he remembered and talked about Seve (Ballesteros). Paul McGinley (2014) was also one of the best because he was always very aware of all the details. Thomas Bjorn (2018) also, in Paris, Anyway, everyone I’ve had has contributed their bit to the cause.
The player (or partner) who has fulfilled you the most, motivated you, with whom you have gotten along more and better.
I have found myself very comfortable with all of them, but if I have to choose one I would say that the Englishman Luke Donald, we always had a very good connection, we always played very well together, in 2004, 2006 and 2012. With Parnevik, in my debut, too there was a lot of feeling… But I would also say that with Lee Westwood.
Olazábal in 2006 and Rafa Cabrera in 2016 have been the only Spanish couples he has had.
The 2006 edition at the K Club in Dublin with Txema was very exciting. First because there was an emotional component in the team with Darren Clarke, who six months earlier had lost his wife to cancer. Ian Woosnam put me in the two fourballs with Txema, we won both points and besides playing very well, I was playing as a couple with one of my idols! It was my fourth Ryder and I have always said that Txema and Seve have been my idols, and playing a Ryder with Olazábal is priceless, I assure you. Seeing how excited he was to play with me filled me a lot, it touched my soul. We get on very well. The first fourball I played very well and he accompanied and the second day it was the other way around, he played like a shot and I helped him as much as I could.
Would you like to play at least one foursome or fourball with Jon Rahm this week?
Without a doubt. I would love it, and we have commented on it, he would also be delighted, but it will all depend on how the couples approach, how the captain and his assistants see him. If the best thing is that we play together, or not, perfect in both cases. We will be happy to help the team, together or separately.
Is team spirit still the best value that Europe has?
Of course. The players are of a very good level and that does not change. The rapport, camaraderie, good vibes, it all adds up and we need them to beat the Americans because they may have a better team but the statistics when you start competing are worth what they are worth.
He’s still sane but does he ever see himself as the next Spanish captain in Europe?
I do see it as a possibility but I don’t want to think about it now because then you forget about your game, you get distracted and I want to play Ryder to the fullest every year I can, as many as possible. And when it doesn’t stop, I hope I can be a captain one day.
Has the Olympics been worth sacrificing for you. seen what seen in August and September?
Yes, of course, it was a complicated, difficult and tough decision. At my age, traveling to Japan for a week in the case of some special Games due to the whole issue of the pandemic, more uncomfortable in some way, and then coming back, on a very long trip and trying to play the 4 or 5 tournaments that remained of the game. PGA Tour because I do not deny that it would have cost me and my body would have noticed. And your attitude changes if you are not fully empowered. Thanks to that little break and not traveling to Japan in the FedEx playoffs, I had a good two weeks and ended a pretty good season. Ah! But the ones in Paris are three years from now and I’ll try again, of course.
A Ryder without Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, is it less Ryder?
Absolutely. Look how many have been played without Palmer, Nicklaus, Seve, Montgomerie, Langer, and they are still incredible. Ryder is above the players even though they are all test history.
What would you highlight about the American team?
Well I do not know. What I do see is that it is a younger team, with new blood and more energy, but this is a double-edged sword. Having a lot of rookies on the team is fine, but if things don’t go well they can fall apart more easily.
What favors the US more, the Whistling Straits field or the presence of the public?
You will see a lot of American and little European because of the restrictions, they will have a lot of support but if we do it well it will be very quiet, there will be a lot of silence; When we play and they are silent it is always an interesting fact, and if we manage to get to this point it will undoubtedly be positive for us