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Thursday November 15, 2012

Garcia sets sight on bagging Johor Open title

PETALING JAYA: Fully recovered from a recent eye surgery to correct astigmatism, Spanish superstar Sergio Garcia is hoping to finish off the tailend of this season as well as he can now see.

The US$2mil Iskandar Johor Open, from Dec 13-16 at Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club, is the last of three tournaments Garcia will be competing in and he’s hoping to shine in his first appearance here.

Garcia, the world No. 22 who has not played since helping Europe to victory over the United States in the Ryder Cup in Medinah in September, will feature in the DP World Tour Championsip in Dubai and the Thailand Golf Championship in Bangkok before heading for the Asian Tour season finale in Johor Baru.

“The surgery went well. I went for a check-up on Monday and was told everything is perfect. My vision is 100% now, so the doctors are very excited about it.

“I can see the difference and I have been practising a bit,” said Garcia in a teleconference call arranged by the organisers yesterday.

It also helped that he has improved on his putting and consistency this year.

“I’ve always had good putting rounds and stretches where I’ve putted well but consistency wasn’t great so that’s nice to have now.

“ I think that the great thing about the game is that you can always improve, pretty much on every aspect of your game. Mentally you can improve; physically you can get a bit better. You can always find something to tune a little bit more,” said Garcia, who is excited to come to Malaysia where he has heard many good things.

“This will be my first time playing in Malaysia, so I am very excited about it. I know golfers who have played in the tournament before, like Retief Goosen, so I have been told great things about it.

“I am excited to see the golf course and enjoy my week there. It should be a great way to end the year for me.

“The goals are simple, I am going to go there and hopefully I am feeling good that week and I can fight for a win.

“A victory will be amazing but if I can play nicely and have a good chance, it will be a good way to end the year,” added the 32-year-old Spaniard.

“Coming to Asia, I try to do it every year if I can. I’ve always said that I am a global player. This year with the eye surgery I couldn’t go to China or Australia but I enjoy it.

“That’s one of the reasons I am in Dubai next week, I’ll go to Thailand to play there then I will go to Malaysia to play in Johor.

“I’ve always enjoyed that part of the globe and I am looking forward to it.”

Asked about the significance of his role in the Ryder Cup team, Garcia said it was special for a couple of reasons.

“One of them, on the Saturday afternoon before we won the last two matches, we were dead. As simple as that, we were done.

“But wow, everything changed, the energy in the team room, how everything lifted up. How we were able to come back on Sunday against such a strong team and those crowds that were very rowdy and great supporters of their team.

“To win away from home, away from Europe made it amazing. To do it for our captain and also for Seve (Ballesteros). All together made it so special,” said Garcia, who launched his Junior Golf Academy in Catalunya on Tuesday.

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