Sport Golf

Tuesday 16 July 2019

'Everything that happened between us is in the past' - Sergio Garcia will back Padraig in Ryder Cup role

Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia
Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia addresses the media behind the Ryder Cup ahead of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters yesterday. Photo: Getty

Brian Keogh

Sergio Garcia has all but vowed to go to war on the shore for Pádraig Harrington if the Dubliner wins the 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy.

The pair buried the hatchet after years of tension at Rory McIlroy's wedding last year and that trend continued at the Ryder Cup in Paris, where Garcia surpassed Nick Faldo as Europe's highest points scorer.

What was once an icy relationship has now thawed to such an extent that the Spaniard sounds ready to give his all for Harrington if, as now seems certain, he leads Europe's Ryder Cup defence at Whistling Straits on the shores of Lake Michigan

"We had chats in Paris, great chats, talking about the team, scenarios," Garcia told the Spanish golf portal TenGolf.com said ahead of the €2 million Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Shane Lowry is one of the title favourites in an understrength field that also features Harrington, Gavin Moynihan and a host of players battling to keep their cards.

"Everything that happened between us is in the past now and Pádraig and I have a good relationship and we get on really well. If he's selected as captain and I am in the team, I will do everything possible to help him in any way I can to make the team as good as it can be."

European skipper Thomas Bjorn is also in Cadiz and while he gambled by giving Garcia a wild-card, he admitted yesterday he had to work hard to raise Jon Rahm's morale for his singles clash with Tiger Woods after playing him just twice before Sunday.

"On Saturday evening, when the draw came out I said to him, 'I put you up against the best player that has ever played in time, so here is your greatest opportunity . . . You go out and win that match tomorrow and you'll never ever think about the first two days'."

Listless

Woods addressed his listless Ryder Cup performance during a Q&A for his Foundation at Pebble Beach this week, explaining that he simply ran out of steam after securing his 80th PGA Tour win the Sunday before heading to Paris.

"It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season," Woods said. "I was tired because I hadn't trained for it. I hadn't trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight."

Being forced to see off Rory McIlroy and world No 1 Justin Rose made his first win for five years even more special. "What validates it for me is the fact that I got a chance to go against Rory head-to-head in the final group, and also (Justin Rose), who was tied with Rory, a group ahead," Woods said.

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire gave herself a fighting chance of making it to next week's final stage of the LPGA Tour's Qualifying School when she fired a two-under 70 in the third round of the Stage II qualifier in Florida.

Tied for 45th in the clubhouse on one-over par with today's final round remaining, she was two shots outside the top 25 and ties who are guaranteed spots in next week's Q-Series though as many as 46 players could progress depending on ties.

Michael Hoey, meanwhile, tees it up in the Challenge Tour's $500,000 Foshan Open in China, where a top-five finish would catapult him into the top 15 in the rankings who earn European Tour promotion heading into the season-ending Grand Final.

On the PGA Tour, world No 221 Graeme McDowell returns to action in the $9.5 million CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island in Korea.

Andalucia Valderrama Masters

Live, Sky Sports, 11.0am

The CJ Cup

Live, Sky Sports, 3.0am

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Kerry back to their best, Connolly’s return and Cork’s baffling inconsistency

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport