Hong Kong - Spain's Sergio Garcia described his victory at
this year's Masters as a "relief" that proves he is capable of
winning on the big stage after almost two decades of near-misses.
It's been a landmark season for the 37-year-old, who claimed
his first major at Augusta in April in a record 74th attempt.
Prior to the victory, Garcia had finished in the top 10
spots at a major some 22 times - including four runner-up slots - earning him
the unwanted reputation as the finest golfer never to lift a major title.
"Winning the Masters was amazing, and it gives you a
little bit of a relief," Garcia said on Friday at a launch event for the UBS
Hong Kong Open in November.
"I guess that when you put yourself in that situation,
now you know that you've done it under big pressure and at a huge stage, that's
He cited his relationship with golf reporter Angela Akins,
whom he recently married, as a factor in his long-awaited victory.
The Spaniard has had a string of failed high profile
relationships, including with former tennis player Martina Hingis.
In 2009, he suffered a loss of form following his split with
Morgan-Leigh Norman, the daughter of golfing great Greg Norman.
"When outside the golf course your life is in check and
in good shape it obviously helps because your mind is at peace, you're
comfortable and you're happy and all those things always help for sure,"
He had previously told reporters after a frustrating Masters
round in 2012 that he would never win a major because he "lacked the thing
I need to have".
But ahead of Hong Kong Open - at which he will compete for
the first time - Garcia warned his fellow professionals that he has set his
sights on more tournament victories.
"The goals are to keep improving, to keep being
consistent, like I've been fortunate to be my whole career, and to try to put
myself in more winning situations, win more tournaments, as many as possible.
"I don't set myself a number. I don't say like 'I have
to win six times this year', or 'three times'. I just try to put myself in that
winning situation as much as possible."
Garcia added that he had worn the famous Augusta winner's
Green Jacket at his wedding in July, albeit only for the reception.
"(For) the ceremony I was wearing a black suit, but at
the reception for the dinner and stuff I was wearing it," he said.
"I guess you only get married once, and you don't
(usually) have the chance of doing it in a Green Jacket. So it kind of worked
out for me."