Sergio Garcia desperately wants to return to the Ryder Cup.
He is showing just how much he misses playing in the international team event in his run at this weekend’s Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
With a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, Garcia seized the third-round lead.
Garcia can play his way back on to the European Ryder Cup team as an automatic qualifier with no worse than a three-way tie for third place Sunday. After making five consecutive Ryder Cup teams, Garcia did not qualify for the matches in Wales two years ago.
“You don’t want to get ahead of yourself,” Garcia said after Saturday’s round. “You just want to get on the team, and once you are on the team, you can start thinking about it.”
While Garcia is a favorite to win a spot as one of Jose Maria Olazabal’s two captain’s picks, he doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. Garcia held the last spot on the Euro Ryder Cup world points list until Ian Poulter bumped him at the PGA Championship last weekend. With Garcia playing The Barclays next week instead of the European Tour’s Johnnie Walker Championship, this marks his last chance to make the European team on points. The Barclays doesn’t count toward the world points list but the Johnnie Walker does.
Garcia is 14-6-4 in Ryder Cup play. He has never been beaten in foursomes (alternate shot), the event’s most difficult partnered format. He’s 8-0-1. He has proven a fabulous partner with a 13-2-4 overall record in foursomes and four balls.
Some notes and nuggets to whet your appetite going into the Wyndham Championship’s final round:
• Garcia is vying for his eighth PGA Tour title, his first in more than four years, since he won The Players Championship in 2008. He won back-to-back European Tour events last October, the Castello Masters and Andalucia Masters.
• The last time Garcia had the 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event? The Wyndham Championship. Garcia led going into the final round in ’09 but finished fourth, missing out on a playoff by a shot. Ryan Moore won that year.
• The last five times Garcia has taken a 54-hole lead into a final round on the PGA Tour, he failed to close the deal and win. He is 2-5 with 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour.
• Garcia has closed out 54-hole leads the last three times he has had them on the European Tour. He is 6-3 with a 54-hole lead on that tour.
• Jason Dufner is poised to be the man to beat in the PGA Tour playoffs. With a 7-under-par 63 to move into a tie for fourth Saturday at the Wyndham Championship, Dufner is in position to overtake Tiger Woods as the FedEx Cup points leader going into next week’s start of the playoffs at The Barclays. Dufner can take the lead with a victory Sunday at Wyndham, or with no worse than a two-way tie for second. Dufner could use the advantage with his announcement this week that he is skipping the first week of the playoffs at The Barclays next week to rest.
• In the five-year history of the FedEx Cup, the regular-season points leader has gone on to win the playoffs just twice. Tiger Woods did it in 2007 and ’09.
• Heath Slocum looks as if he may be the only player to move up and crack into the top 125 of the FedEx Cup points list Sunday to qualify for next week’s start to the playoffs. Slocum entered this week 128th in FedEx Cup points. With his 67 Saturday, he is projected to move up to No. 122. Jhonattan Vegas, No. 124 in FedEx Cup points, put himself in danger of failing to qualify by missing the cut.
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