Sergio Garcia has reiterated that he doesn’t feel he has a point to prove in this week’s Ryder Cup – the event he “fell head over heels in love with” after meeting Seve Ballesteros at the 1995 clash when he was just 15.
Garcia, who is making his ninth appearance in the event, was regarded as a controversial wildcard pick by European captain Thomas Bjorn after suffering a dip in form this season, missing the cut in all four majors.
But he has arrived at Le Golf National on the back of a timely confidence boost after recording a top-10 finish in the Portugal Masters last weekend and is ready to play his part as the home team bid to try and win back the trophy after a 17-11 hammering at Hazeltine two years ago.
“I don’t think so,” replied Garcia to be asked if he believed he still had a point to prove after being picked ahead of his compatriot, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Englishman Matt Wallace and Scottish No. 1 Russell Knox, who finished second in the French Open on this course in July before winning the Irish Open the following week.
“I think that, at the end of the day, the captain’s picks, they are not easy for captains and vice captains, but they have their way of doing it and they know what they want to choose that can bring something extra to the team.
“You know, I think that I’ve proved myself over and over, and the only thing I can do out there is when I get called upon playing, just do my best, do what I do, do what I’ve always done here at Ryder Cups, and that’s everything.
“If we are all able to do that and play well, then we’ll have a good chance. If not, we’ll have to fight really hard.”
Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal forged a legendary partnership in this event and now Garcia and Jon Rahm, one of five rookies in the home team, are hoping to do Spain proud in just its second staging in Continental Europe.
Whether they are paired together remains to be seen, but Garcia’s passion for the event is unquestionable and his younger compatriot cannot wait to get his first taste of it on Friday.
“My first Ryder Cup was at Oak Hill in ’95,” recalled Garcia of the match that saw Lothians legend Bernard Gallacher lead Europe to victory in the third and final encounter of his captaincy.
“It was amazing. Unfortunately I only watched Seve’s good Ryder Cups on TV. The one at Oak Hill, obviously he was towards the end of his good game. He was still an amazing fighter, though.
“It definitely was very inspiring. I already loved the Ryder Cup, but ’95 is really the Ryder Cup that kind of make me really fall in love head over heels with it.
“I remember being there. I remember seeing the atmosphere.
“I remember, I think I was only 15, I went to the International Pavilion and seeing people singing and the energy that was around was amazing.
“I was in the Junior Ryder Cup team, so to be able to meet your idols and Seve in this case and say Hi to them and talk to them for a bit, obviously I knew him from before.
“But to be able to see him at a Ryder Cup and spend some time with him was something amazing that I will never forget, and he’s one of the reasons that I love this event so much.”