OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Talk about perfect timing.
With the Ryder Cup less than a month away and Sergio Garcia stuck in a rut of bad form, Team Europe’s all-time points earner broke out of his prolonged slump on Thursday at the BMW Championship. Garcia opened the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs in 7-under 65 and was one shot off the lead.
“Great way to start,” Garcia said. “Now, I've got to do just more of the same things, just keep trusting myself.”
Garcia, a nine-time Ryder Cupper (on six winning teams) who hasn’t missed the biennial matches since 2010, has plummeted in the world rankings this year. He entered this week at No. 55 and without a top-10 finish anywhere since March.
Despite his Cup resume, that’s not exactly the type of results that would warrant a captain’s pick from Europe leader Padraig Harrington.
Luckily for Garcia, Harrington has frequently appeared eager to select Garcia, along with fellow veteran Ian Poulter, to round out his squad. In May, Harrington said Garcia would “nearly need to lose a limb” to not be picked.
However, Harrington recently challenged all prospective picks to compete in the BMW PGA Championship the week before the Ryder Cup week.
“I want to say to players, if you're interested in playing then come and show me the form,” Harrington told Telegraph Sport on Wednesday. “If you are interested in a pick and decide to sit at home, you will be taking some chance.”
And Garcia, who had until noon ET Thursday to commit, said he doesn’t have plans to make the trip.
“I'm not going to lie, I'm 41 years old, I've traveled all around the world for a long time, so I can't be doing too many jumps this close to the Ryder Cup if I get picked,” Garcia said. “Obviously, I'll talk to [Harrington], and if he has me in his sights to be in the team, try to figure out what we can do.”
Garcia, who hasn’t played the European Tour’s flagship event in seven years, is 16th in World points and 18th in European points. He’s behind the likes of Poulter, Victor Perez, Robert MacIntyre, Guido Migliozzi, Bernd Wiesberger and Justin Rose, all of whom are expected to tee it up at Wentworth.
“Wentworth is a big tournament, there’s pressure to play well there and it's the right style of course,” Harrington also told The Telegraph. “Look, the player who turns up there and shows form, well, that's hardly going to go away in two weeks is it? That's my thinking.”
Garcia’s thinking is to play well this week, and then hopefully do the same next week, and then get some rest and hang out with his family in Texas. He’s currently 44th in FedExCup points and needs at least a 12th-place finish to qualify for the Tour Championship at East Lake.
After all, his Cup record should speak for itself – or in Garcia’s eyes, two strong playoff finishes on this side of the pond, including this week at the other BMW, should do the trick.
“I think that everybody knows what the Ryder Cup means to me, everybody knows what I can bring to the team and to the week,” Garcia said. “But you know, resumes are resumes. At the end of the day, they don't play golf.
“Obviously, if I'm there, I'm going to play as hard as I can, like I always do, and try to help my team as much as I can. It's as simple as that.”