By Michael Church
HONGKONG (Reuters) – Former U.S. Masters champion Sergio Garcia has credited Thomas Bjorn’s decision to hand him a Ryder Cup captain’s pick for his resurgence in form in the latter part of the year.
Garcia’s inclusion in the team that went on to defeat the United States was a surprise but was vindicated when the Spaniard won three out of a possible four points as Europe romped to victory in Paris.
“It’s definitely been a good end of the year,” said Garcia, who will play in the Hong Kong Open at Fanling this weekend.
“It was a really nice start of the year too, but we went through a little bit of a dip in the middle.
“When Thomas picked me to be part of the Ryder Cup team, everybody knows how much that means to me and it kind of got my juices flowing again.
“I had a great week in Portugal and built some good momentum and then played great at the Ryder Cup and then Valderrama and the last couple of weeks.
“It’s been a good run so far and we’re hoping to make it even better here this week.”
Garcia started 2018 with a win in the Singapore Open but the 38-year-old missing the cut at all four majors as well as at four events on the U.S. PGA Tour.
After being selected in the Europe team, though, he shared seventh place at the Portugal Masters the week before the biennial showdown with the Americans.
Following the Ryder Cup, he won the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, was second at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and tied for ninth at the World Tour Championship in Dubai last weekend.
Garcia will this weekend seek to add the Hong Kong Open title to his collection of 34 professional titles against a field including Ryder Cup team mate Tommy Fleetwood and reigning Masters champions Patrick Reed.
“It was just a matter of playing the Ryder Cup, because it’s always a big boost for me especially,” he said of his return to form.
“That obviously helped. But it’s also the work I’ve been doing throughout the year. I didn’t feel like I was that far off, in some of those missed cuts I was missing the cut by one.
“I was close to playing good golf, it’s just that I couldn’t get a rhythm.
“After that, when I played in Portugal and in the Ryder Cup I got a nice big boost of confidence and that’s always important in anything you do and in golf even more.
“I’ve been riding that wave nicely and have managed to play very well ever since.”
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Nick Mulvenney)