After lengthy period away from game, Garcia glad to be back in competition

By Associated Press
Published on

Sergio Garcia says his love of golf has been restored after long periods away from the game to clear his head last year.

Garcia has been mired in a slump in which he hasn’t won since the 2008 HSBC Champions in China. His ranking has fallen from No. 2 to 80.

The Spanish star took two months off after missing the cut at last year’s PGA Championship. He had another eight-week break going into this week’s new Volvo Golf Champions at the Royal Golf Club.

He’s ready to take on the 2011 season, he said Tuesday.

“I want to get my game back to where we know we can get it,” Garcia said. “It is obviously a work in process. I still have a bit of work to do, but I think as the week goes on, you kind of get into the competition mode and you start getting used to it.

“I am looking forward to the challenge, and that is a big positive.”

In explaining his fall, Garcia said it was less about technique and more about not getting the same kind of joy from golf.

“I wasn’t playing like I wanted to, and when you don’t play the way you know how to play, it’s a bit more frustrating,” he said. “The breaks were something I needed to do, and now I am looking forward to a kind of restart and getting going.”

After the first break last year, he served as vice captain of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team. Garcia then had one top-10 and made three cuts in four events, missing at his own tournament, the Castello Masters.

The 18-time worldwide winner said his slump has been a learning experience.

“It happens to everyone,” he said. “I think you kind of lose yourself out there. And you have to try to find your way back, find yourself again. I needed to kind of find myself first and from then on, kind of work on the game and try to improve it.”