Friday 23 February 2018

Garcia now ready to rejoin world's elite

European tour


BOY wonders are all the rage in European golf, with Tom Lewis (20) winning so spectacularly on the Algarve last Sunday and teenager Matteo Manassero this week defending the Castello Masters title he won in sensational fashion 12 months ago at age 17, writes Karl MacGinty.

Yet the original 'El Nino', Sergio Garcia, is expected to recapture confidence of old in his native Castillon after a couple of soul-destroying seasons which seemed to age him far beyond his 31 years.

Garcia won the inaugural Castello Masters as tournament host in 2008, following up a fortnight later with victory at the HSBC Champions ... but he has drawn a blank on the world's leading tours ever since.

His morale sapped by the break-up of his relationship with Greg Norman's daughter Morgan and a run of terrible form as he plunged to 75th in the world rankings, Garcia even took a complete two- month break from golf in 2010.

Yet he has battled back into the top 50 with a series of encouraging performances, including top-12 finishes at the US Open, British Open and August's PGA.

"Last year, I was here physically, but not mentally. Now I feel like I am ready to fight," said Garcia."

Further endorsement came this week from European Ryder Cup skipper Jose Maria Olazabal's insistence that he fully expects Garcia to be in his team in Chicago.

Manassero's decision to part with Coleraine caddie Ryan McGuigan has been perfectly timed for Portstewart's Paul Cutler, who has snapped up his good friend.

Castello Masters,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 11.0

luke eyes fairytale ending at disney

LUKE DONALD hopes to make history at Disney in Orlando this weekend and silence critics who question his worth as world No 1.

The Englishman, yet to win a Major, needs to finish no worse than a two-way tie for second in the final event of the PGA Tour season, the Children's Miracle Network Classic, to leapfrog American Webb Simpson to the top of the US Money List.

Currently €1.31m ahead of Rory McIlroy in the European Order of Merit, Donald is bidding to become the first player to 'officially' top the money list on both sides of the Atlantic if he does the trick in Orlando this weekend.

Children's Miracle Classic,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 7.0

Irish Independent

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