Sergio Garcia rejuvenated and back in form thanks to Ryder Cup call-up
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 20/11/18 5:19pm
Sergio Garcia has thanked European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn for his influence in helping him end the 2018 season on a high.
Garcia began the year in good form and stormed to a five-shot victory at the Singapore Open in January, but the Spaniard endured one of the most disappointing summers of his career and missed the halfway cut in all four major championships.
Despite his indifferent form, Bjorn awarded Garcia one of his four captain's picks for the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, and the Dane's decision was fully justified as the 38-year-old won three of his four matches to become the highest points scorer in the history of the competition.
A rejuvenated Garcia then finished the European Tour season in style with four consecutive top-10 finishes, including a successful defence of his Andalucia Valderrama Masters title, and he is looking to boost his confidence further this week at the Honma Hong Kong Open.
"It's definitely been a good end of the year," said Garcia, who tees up at Fanling in a strong field which includes the likes of Ryder Cup team-mate Tommy Fleetwood and reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed.
"It was a really nice start of the year too, but we went through a little bit of a dip in the middle. But when Thomas picked me to be part of the Ryder Cup team, everybody knows how much that means to me and it kind of got my juices flowing again.
Relive the moment Sergio Garcia became the leading points scorer in Ryder Cup history
"I had a great week in Portugal and built some good momentum and then played great at the Ryder Cup and then Valderrama and the last couple of weeks. It's been a good run so far and we're hoping to make it even better here this week."
Asked what sparked his return to form, the world No 23 added: "It was just a matter of playing the Ryder Cup, because it's always a big boost for me especially.
"That obviously helped. But it's also the work I've been doing throughout the year. I didn't feel like I was that far off, in some of those missed cuts I was missing the cut by one. I was close to playing good golf, it's just that I couldn't get a rhythm.
"After that, when I played in Portugal and in the Ryder Cup I got a nice big boost of confidence and that's always important in anything you do and in golf even more. I've been riding that wave nicely and have managed to play very well ever since."
Fleetwood admitted he was feeling "jaded" after being unable to hold onto his Race to Dubai crown as he came up short in his bid for the win he needed at the DP World Tour Championship to deny his record-breaking Ryder Cup partner Francesco Molinari.
The Englishman is hoping to give his 2019 campaign a "head start" with a strong week in Hong Kong, and he is also looking forward to enjoying some time off after he features in next week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
"If you play well here, you're on a head start for the year. It sets your season up perfectly," said Fleetwood, whose second straight win in Abu Dhabi in January remains his only victory of the year.
"December for me will be a nice rest, so I'll also look forward to that. I'm either playing golf or changing nappies - that's pretty much my life!"