Sergio Garcia: Time to move on from Masters win
Spaniard says reaction to first appearance since Augusta was ‘very overwhelming’
Sergio Garcia is looking for a third win in the AT&T Byron Nelson. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty
Sergio Garcia believes he needs to move on from the “overwhelming” aftermath of winning his first major title as he seeks a third victory in the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Five weeks after slipping on a green jacket at Augusta National, Garcia returned to action in the Players Championship and admitted he struggled to fully focus on his game.
The world number five recovered from playing his first six holes in four over par, with the help of a hole-in-one on the iconic 17th, to record an opening 73 and went into the final round just four shots off the lead.
However, a closing 78 meant the 37-year-old stumbled to a tie for 30th and brought home the fact that he needs to concentrate on reproducing the sort of golf which saw him beat Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose in a play-off at Augusta.
“At The Players I had a couple nice rounds and a couple not so nice rounds, but it’s been very overwhelming. I’m not going to lie,” defending champion Garcia told a pre-tournament press conference.
“It’s been amazing to see the reaction from the people and the players and everyone. It’s obviously been something amazing to go through but, at the same time, you know, I have to kind of move on.
“As nice as it is to be the Masters champion, I need to keep doing things, I need to keep improving on every aspect of my game and focus on the week that we are right now, because it’s easy to start thinking about what happened a month ago.
“I did some really good things last week, but I also did some things that weren’t that great. I need to make sure I clean that up and have a solid, solid stretch here in Texas.”
Garcia has won twice before at TPC Four Seasons and would love to complete a hat-trick before the tournament moves to Trinity Forest next year.
“I’m going to be sad to leave here, not only because I won twice here and I’ve done well, but it’s where I started my PGA Tour career as a professional [in 1999],” added Garcia, who will partner Jason Day and Patrick Reed in the first two rounds.
“It’s always going to have something extra special in me, this golf course.”
Texas native Jordan Spieth is also keen to add his name to the list of champions in an event where his best finish remains a tie for 16th as a 16-year-old amateur in 2010.
All of the past champions have their names inscribed on a wall behind the statue of Byron Nelson that sits near the first tee and Spieth said: “I really would like to get my name there by Byron’s statue after coming out and looking at all those names for so many years.
“It’s a very special place for our family and friends. It’s very bittersweet. Obviously (I have) fantastic memories and looking forward to creating new ones this week and hopefully the best ones yet.”
Spieth missed the cut in the Players Championship for the third year running, but the two-time major winner insists his confidence remains high.
“I hit the ball phenomenal and putting was great leading in,” the world number six said.
“My one bad day of the week was Thursday striking the ball and I recognised what it was, I couldn’t fix it in time for the round and then I fixed that on Friday, but then I just didn’t get any of the putts to go.”