Exclusive: Sergio Garcia on not caring about OWGR and keeping Open dream alive

Sergio Garcia Q&A: GolfMagic sits down with the Spaniard to discuss all things LIV Golf,  his feelings about the OWGR and keeping The Open dream alive. 

Exclusive: Sergio Garcia on not caring about OWGR and keeping Open dream alive
Exclusive: Sergio Garcia on not caring about OWGR and keeping Open dream…

Sergio Garcia has told GolfMagic the reason why he no longer cares about the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) is because even if LIV Golf events did receive points it would do little to impact 90% of the players given how far they have fallen down the ladder. 

In an exclusive interview with GolfMagic ahead of LIV Golf Hong Kong this week, the Fireballs GC captain was eager to discuss his third year on the breakaway league and the good form he has found himself in so far this season. 

Garcia, 44, also highlighted his ambitions for major qualification this year and his delight at seeing Jon Rahm join the Saudi-backed circuit.

The Spaniard then disclosed insight regarding equipment changes he has made for the 2024 season, as well as how impressed he has been with both Joaquin Niemann and Anthony Kim

Returning to Hong Kong Golf Club, a course he has played before, Garcia told us he is keen to build on his early-season momentum heading into the season's first major at The Masters this April. 

Scroll down for the full interview...

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia

Credit: LIV Golf

Sergio, off a runner-up finish at LIV Mayakoba and currently sitting sixth in the individual standings thru three events, your game must be in a pretty good place right now?

"Yeah, it’s not bad; there’s still a lot of work to do and things to improve. But it feels nice, obviously had a great start in Mayakoba. The perk was nearly winning there without feeling super smooth in my game.

"I managed my game well there, and funnily enough, I felt like I played better in Vegas but I struggled with the greens. I struggled to read the greens and stuff. Obviously, in Jeddah, I played quite nicely; the second round kind of took the possibility of a top four or five from me the way I played all three days.

"But yeah, it’s been solid, which is nice to see, and I’m looking forward to keeping it going when you start well in a league like the one we have with just 14 tournaments, what 13 tournaments in the individual, 14 in the team. Obviously, that helps; it puts you in a good spot for the rest of the year.

"So if you keep having weeks you can maintain yourself individually, and then obviously, as a team, we also need to get a little bit better."

Do you feel the course in Hong Kong this week is a good fit for your game?

"Yeah, I’ve played here a few times at the Hong Kong Open, so yeah, I do like the course; I think it’s a great golf course. I think that it’s a ball strikers kind of golf course, so that usually if my game is in a good place, plays to my advantage.

"So I’m excited about that. Like I was saying earlier, hopefully, we have another solid week here and kind of keep building."

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia

Speaking about Joaquin Niemann, you’ve obviously been a mentor to him throughout his early career. How great is it to see him really flourishing this season?

"Yeah, it’s great, it’s great to see, but he’s been playing great. He’s a top 10 to 15 player in the world, without a doubt. He’s obviously started really well.

"He’s been playing very solid. I think he’s won three or four times in the last five months. So obviously he’s in good form. He’s hitting the ball well, and he’s hitting it far and straight, which always helps."

As he now has his Masters invite, are you looking forward to seeing him tee it up? Playing together would be nice...

"Yeah, definitely, it would be nice. I’m just happy that he got the invitation from the Masters and, I think, the PGA, so that’s nice to see. And you know, hopefully, he can qualify for the US Open, too.

"I’ll also be trying my best to be in those, so see if we can all be there and just give it a little run."

What have you made of the ongoing OWGR debacle?

"To be totally honest, I don’t even care about it. Mainly because even if I do care, they’re not going to give us world ranking points, and even if they did, with the rankings that 90, 80 per cent of the guys have on LIV, it wouldn’t help us at all.

"So at the end of the day, people want to see the best players in the world. Obviously, every week, but when it comes to majors, they want to see that, and I think the majors also want to see that, and so they know that some of us are not in the majors because of the way the world rankings are run at the moment.

"We’re just hopeful and trying to see if there’s other possibilities to, you know, to get ourselves or some of us into those majors. Some of us deserve to be there.

"So obviously, there are always ways of qualifying, like I’m going to do myself, like trying to play the qualifiers for the US Open and The Open, but you know, we’ll see there are other ways that they can open it up because, at the end of the day, it’s the best for everyone to watch and it’s the best for the majors."

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia

Credit: LIV Golf

For someone like you, Sergio, who has achieved almost everything in the game, do you still have certain milestones, whether it be majors or Ryder Cup points? Are there still things you want to achieve?

"Yeah, without a doubt, there are things that I want to keep achieving. I mean, my first goal is to keep improving, not only as a golfer but as a person. I want to keep getting better and keep moving the needle when it comes down to community and all the work my wife and I do when it comes to charity.

"So that’s the most important thing, then obviously yes, I want to try to keep playing, obviously the tournaments on the league and try to do the best way possible and hopefully get a win soon, then also try to get into as many majors as possible so then I can keep giving myself chances.

"I have always wanted to win The Open. That was from when I was very little. That’s the one thing I’ve wanted to do, and I’ve been very close to doing it several times. So I would love to give myself a few more chances before I call it quits obviously."

You recently mentioned that you think the TaylorMade Qi10 is the best driver the brand has made since the SIM. What is it about the driver that you believe makes it so good?

"I think it’s a combination of two things, it’s a combination of the look. I think the face looks a lot more square so that then that, to me, it feels like it’s easier to align, and secondly, it feels easier to get back to square at impact.

"When the faces are that curved on the sides, it makes it look weird to me, like if you don’t hit it in the middle, you are going to lose, so it kind of plays a little bit into your head.

"So that’s one of the first things I loved when I first saw it. Then the other thing was the spin control on it is much better than the last few drivers. I’m able to consistently hit the ball with a good launch between probably 1700 to 2300 RPMs which is ideal for me, you know I can see draws I can hit fades with that and I can gain as much out of the club as possible.

"So those couple of things obviously help a lot, and that’s why it’s in the bag."

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia

Credit: LIV Golf

The other curious equipment change you’ve made is putting the Golfyr Maker 3 in the bag. I’ve tested one myself. How did you discover the putter, and what made you put it in the bag?

"Yeah, it’s unique, it’s obviously carbon fibre, so it’s got a bit of a different sound to it little bit different feel, but one of my managers lives in Switzerland and he brought it out to me. He was like, “I know the guys, I know a Swiss engineer that loves golf”, and so they reached out and asked if I would be interested in trying it, and I told my manager I said yeah.

"I did try it, and after I hit, I remember it perfectly. I was in Austin. I was in Austin Golf Club putting, and after I hit probably five or six putts, I gave him a call and I was like “this actually feels really good”. So I think we’re talking to them, and they’re going to make me one with a little bit of a smaller head. But I think the way they design, and with the weight and everything, it feels like it’s easier to swing for me.

"So, particularly for me, I feel comfortable with it. I like the way it looks; it doesn't bother me at all, and I’m able to hit a much higher percentage of good putts. I might make them, or I might not.

"Some days, you make them, and sometimes you don’t, but I feel like my percentage of good putts has gone up since I started using it, and at the end of the day, that is what I want.

"I want to hit the best putts possible, and then, if I read it correctly with the right speed, it will go in. If I don’t, it might burn the edge or something like that, but as long as I’m hitting better putts, I’m giving it the best possible chance to go in."

With Jon Rahm joining LIV it must be nice to have another Spaniard in the league. Did you have any conversations with him during the period when he was making his decision? Did you play the role of agent a little bit?!

"It’s great to have him on board; it's a huge signing for us and he's a big asset for LIV. So we did have a couple of chats, but not so much; obviously, he wasn’t like, he didn’t sign yet when I talked to him and when the rumours were going on. He couldn't really talk about it, but we had chats about the league and stuff like that, and mostly we usually text each other and chat to each other about how we are doing, how the family is doing, our wives and stuff like that. But yeah, it's nice to have him here in the league, and he’s enjoying it."

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia

Credit: LIV Golf

Still in search of that first LIV win, do you feel it’s close?

"I feel like I’ve given myself some good opportunities. I'm just waiting to get catalogued as the best player to have never won a LIV event, but no, I’m close. Obviously, two seconds, two playoffs, and then I think I’ve had probably at least three or four top fives and some top threes. I’ve been lurking around; it’s just a matter of giving myself more and more chances like that.

"The way I look at it, yes, it’s 54 players, we’re 54 players now, but even though the field is smaller, it’s a very strong field. So obviously, you know, it’s difficult to win out here if your game is not really on; you have to put everything together.

"And if not, with the quality of players we have, they're going to pass you. So hopefully, I’ll keep giving myself chances and waiting for it to happen."

Anthony Kim
Anthony Kim

One last question regarding Anthony Kim's return. He’s been under the spotlight, and I spoke to Graeme McDowell earlier. He was blown away by the fact that he hadn't played for almost 12 years and had the ability to just step back into it. What did you make of his return?

"Yeah, I see it a couple of different ways. I think it's very interesting, it is impressive to have the courage of coming out here and playing with us that you know, we’re playing every day. We've been playing for many, many years without that big of a break, so I see a lot of courage. It’s nice to see, and at the same time, it shows how difficult it is. It's not like he's going to come out here and right away, he’s going to get it.

"Obviously, he has a lot of talent, and he’s had it for a number of years, but you know you have to get back into competition mode, not only the way your body moves but the way your brain, your mind is working on the golf course in competition and everything.

"You’ve got to get back into feeling all those sorts of feelings and getting comfortable with them again. So yeah, he’s always been very talented, so I’m assuming that as he goes along, he will get more and more comfortable and then start playing the game he’s used to playing. But it’s never easy."

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