PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Sergio Garcia looks about as home as any player in the field at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course.
Maybe that’s because it reminds him of Valderrama Golf Club in the South of Spain.
Garcia, a Spaniard, won The Players Championship in 2008. He has finished T-4 or better four times on the Stadium Course. He was third last year.
“It's the kind of golf course that is asking you for a lot of different shots,” Garcia said. “So, it's the kind of golf course that you want to play. It's really pushing you to the limits. Greens are fairly small, so you have to be accurate, not only off the tee but into the greens. You're not going to have a lot of 50 footers on these greens. It's very rare that you have a long putt like that because it kind of reminds me a little bit, of Valdarrama. Obviously Valdarrama, maybe, has a little bit more movement, but it's small greens. If you hit a good shot you're always going to have a birdie putt. It always feels like you're in range to make a birdie. And if you miss the greens, then chipping is very challenging, so it's a great golf course overall.”
Garcia is among the game’s best ball strikers.
“Ball striking is important, but you can't forget short game,” he said. “I feel like if your ball striking is really, really good, because the greens are small, you can kind of get away with the so-so short game, but if your ball striking is a little bit off, then your short game has to be very sharp.”