Garcia back in Open mix
Sandwich - Sergio Garcia is hoping that his recent welcome return to form will bring him British Open glory at Royal St George's this week.
The 31-year-old Spaniard has showed a new lease of life in the past few weeks, including a tie for seventh place at the US Open last month and a runner-up spot to compatriot Pablo Larrazabal at the BMW International in Germany.
That ran in stark contrast to the previous two-and-a-half years during which Garcia's form slumped and, on his own admission, his motivation for the game dwindled.
The result was a winless streak and run of missed cuts that saw his world ranking plummet from second to outside the top 80, putting his qualification for the four majors in jeopardy.
His second-place in Germany though ensured he would play at Royal St George's and, even though he admits it is not his favourite layout, Garcia is quietly confident.
"It has been a good month for me. I've had positive vibes," he said.
"To have been able to qualify for the US Open and play well there and to have also played well in Germany to get to the Open has been important for me.
"But I must continue on the same path. I am going in the right direction and I hope I can continue to do good things.
"After Germany, I have practised the same way as I have done throughout the year.
"I also took some time off and went to Ibiza with my brother and some friends, we had a great time. The rest of the time, I have been practising and getting ready."
Garcia has a particular affection for the British Open where he came closest to winning a first Major title at Carnoustie in 2007 only to lose out to Padraig Harrington in a playoff.
In total he has played the tournament 14 times and has six top 10 finishes. Last year at St Andrews he was tied for 14th.
The Spaniard's inventive stroke-making makes him a strong player in links golf where every shot in the book is often needed and he is an adept player in poor weather conditions.
With some rain and wind in the forecast for later this week, Garcia's chances are looking increasingly rosier.
"The good thing with the Open is you never know what type of weather you are going to get," he said.
"Besides playing well, you also need a little bit of luck with the weather.
"I feel more uncomfortable playing with rain so whatever happens I will deal with it."