HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - Sergio Garcia was in philosophical mood on Sunday after finishing as a major championship runner-up for the fourth time in his career.
The 34-year-old Spaniard has still to achieve a breakthrough victory in one of golf's 'Big Four' events and he gave it all he could in the final round of the 143rd British Open at Royal Liverpool.
Garcia fired a six-under-par 66 for a 15-under total of 273 but he and American Rickie Fowler wound up two strokes adrift of winner Rory McIlroy.
"Everybody looks at you as second and they want to make it a negative," he told reporters. "Not at all.
"I felt like I played well. I felt like I did almost everything I could and there was a better player here. It's as simple as that.
"I try to look at the positives and there are always a lot more positives than negatives. That's where I want to take it," said Garcia who was also second at the 2007 Open and at the U.S. PGA Championship in 1999 and 2008.
He trailed wire-to-wire winner McIlroy by seven strokes at the start of the final round and ultimately it was too big a deficit to wipe out.
"I think Rickie and I tried to push him as hard as we could," Garcia explained. "Obviously, it's not easy when you know that you can't make any mistakes.
"There are so many things that have to go right for you to be able to get as close. I needed to shoot at least eight or nine under."
Garcia closed within two strokes of European Ryder Cup team mate McIlroy before his challenge came unstuck when he took two shots to get out of a deep greenside bunker at the short 15th.
"Obviously 15 was a mistake," he said. "Every time I got closer he kept making one birdie and not letting me get any closer than that.
"Overall, I thought it was a great week."
Garcia produced a typical show of emotion as he walked off the final green, blowing kisses and repeatedly tapping his heart to show his affection for the fans.
"I love the 18th. That's a feeling that nobody can take away from me and one of the reasons why I love this championship," he said.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)