RIFFA, Bahrain – Sergio Garcia’s love of tournament golf is restored after long spells away from the game last year to clear his head.
Garcia has been mired in a slump in which he hasn’t won anywhere since the 2008 HSBC Champions in China, and his world ranking has fallen from No. 2 to 80.
Down on himself, the Spanish star took two months off after missing the cut at last year’s PGA Championship, and has had another eight-week break going into this week’s new Volvo Golf Champions at the Royal Golf Club in Riffa.
He had a newfound love for the game, he said on Tuesday, and believes it will be his key to doing well in 2011.
“I am looking forward to playing, looking forward to enjoying it out there and, hopefully, having a good time and doing some of the things we know how to do,” he said.
“I want to get my game back to where we know we can get it. It is obviously a work in process.
“I still have a bit of work to do, but I think as the week goes on, you kind of get into the competition mode and you start getting used to it. We’ll get better. It’s not going to be easy, but I am looking forward to the challenge, and that is a big positive.”
In explaining his fall, Garcia said it had less to with his technique falling apart, and more of a case of not getting the same kind of joy from golf as he used to.
“I wasn’t playing like I wanted to, and when you don’t play the way you know how to play, it’s a bit more frustrating. The breaks were something I needed to do and now I am looking forward to a kind of restart and getting going.”
After the first break last year, during which he was a vice captain of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team, Garcia had one top 10 and made three cuts out of four events, missing only at his own tournament, the Castello Masters.
Garcia, an 18-time winner worldwide, said his slump has been a learning experience.
“It happens to everyone,” he said. “I think you kind of lose yourself out there. And you have to try to find your way back, find yourself again. I needed to kind of find myself first and from then on, kind of work on the game and try to improve it.”