WASHINGTON: Defending champion Sergio Garcia approaches this week’s Byron Nelson Championship trying to restore some focus on his game after the thrill of winning his first major title at last month’s Masters.
Garcia, who made his breakthrough at Augusta National after 73 major failures, returned from a month off at last week’s Players Championship and shared 30th, falling out of contention with a final-round 78.
Garcia said his struggles were, in part, from his reaction to winning the Masters and the time has come to move beyond that triumph, as important to him as it was, and get back to normal.
“I need to get going on that,” Garcia said. “Last week obviously at The Players I had a couple nice rounds and a couple not so nice rounds. But it has been very overwhelming. I’m not going to lie. It’s been amazing to see the reaction from the people and the players and everyone. It has been something amazing to go through.
“But, at the same time, I have to kind of move on. As nice as it is to be the Masters champion, I need to keep doing things, I need to keep improving on every aspect of my game and focus on the week that we are right now because it’s easy to start thinking about what happened, you know, a month ago and things like that.”
Rather than stay lost in past glory, Garcia wants to duplicate the form that saw him end a four-year US win drought last year at the TPC Four Seasons in Irving, Texas, by defeating American Brooks Koepka in a playoff.
“We have to get going, get back into where we were there and make sure that we get some good confidence,” Garcia said. “Obviously winning Augusta was amazing. It’s the highlight of my career. But I don’t want it to be over. I still feel like I can achieve a lot of things and I want to keep moving forward.
“I need to focus on every week and stop thinking what has happened, which is great, but in the past and I need to keep moving forward. If I manage to do that then we should have an amazing year. We’re excited about that.”
Garcia also won at Dubai this year, taking a three-stroke victory over reigning British Open champion Henrik Stenson.
His next chance at a major crown comes next month at Erin Hills, where world number one Dustin Johnson will try to defend the US Open title he won last year at Oakmont. But Garcia won’t be worrying about that until he’s there to work.
“I haven’t seen Erin Hills. I’ve heard about it,” Garcia said. “I don’t want to be thinking this shot or that shot, it’s good for there. Every course needs to be played one way and I mean you start playing a golf course differently because of how you’re going to play maybe in three weeks’ time, usually you’re not going to have a week then.
“For me the most important thing is confidence and playing well. It’s what gives you confidence. If you’re trying to do things that you don’t feel comfortable with or you’re trying to do things out of the ordinary, and you lose confidence, then you get to the US Open and your confidence is low and then you can’t even do what you’re supposed to do there.”