THE Open at Royal Birkdale is today (Friday) into its second day having teed off at sunrise yesterday morning, and there is one person looking to prove that his recent success isn’t just a one-major-wonder.
Spain’s very own and popular Sergio Garcia is the current Masters champion and one of his famous sayings, when translated from his native tongue is, “the more sugar, the sweeter it is”. There is no doubt that 2017 so far is his sweetest year and he has used more idioms to describe his approach to The Open, describing the choice between wearing the much-sought-after Green Jacket or holding the famous Claret Jug aloft during a Sunday evening sunset as “like saying, who do you love more, your dad or your mum?”
Sergio has a more than consistent history at The Open, as he confirmed just a short distance along the coast from Royal Birkdale in Hoylake in 2014 when he challenged eventual winner Rory McIlroy all the way into the final holes.
Even though he’s among the early favourites for the tournament, he has promised, irrespective of his upcoming wedding, to keep his focus on the prize. “My mind is on the Open, don’t worry,” he said, laughing. “It’s going to be where it needs to be. Angela has been doing a great job of getting everything ready for the wedding.” Next week, he is marrying Angela Akins, his fiancée from Texas and a former Golf Channel presenter who has been at the forefront of his resurgence. They were recently seen together in the Royal Box at Wimbledon wearing his prized Green Jacket that fitted perfectly with the traditional colours of the All England Club.
Spanish sport in general is enjoying a remarkable summer. Apart from Rafael Nadal winning his 10th French Open at Roland Garros, Garbine Muguruza adding her name to the honours board for the Women’s Singles champion at the weekend, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina from Malaga winning the Boy’s Singles at the age of 18 – Boris Becker won the Men’s in 1985 at the age of 17 for reference – Jon Rahm won the Irish Open golf title and Rafael Cabrera-Bello the Scottish version. Will there be a UK hat-trick for Spain? “It’s very exciting to see guys you’re friendly with, fellow countrymen, doing great things,” Sergio said. “We’re going to try to keep it going as much as possible.”
When a young Garcia was growing up in rural Castellon in the Eighties, the Open, which at that time featured the still much-loved and much-missed Seve Ballesteros, was only on Spanish TV now and then. Thirty years on, the Spanish, and Seve’s academy, are on the verge of bringing back those great days.