Sergio Garcia admits it won’t be easy stopping Rory McIlroy’s seemingly inevitable march to Open glory at Royal Liverpool - but he’s going to give it his best shot.
The Spaniard carded a three-under-par 69 to sit at nine-under-par after three rounds. That’s seven shots worse than McIlroy, who currently leads by six from Rickie Fowler, which, to some, would seem to be an insurmountable lead. Garcia, though, is refusing to give up without a fight.
“If he shoots three-under, I have to shoot ten,” admitted the 34-year-old, who is playing in his 14 Open Championship this week.
“I think the only thing I can do is go out there and try to play as well as possible, a little better on the last couple of holes, and see where that gets me. It’s as simple as that.
“If Rory plays as well as he’s been playing, it’s difficult to see anybody catching him. The only thing I can do is play well, try to put a little pressure on him and see how he reacts to that.”
The Open is the 64th major of Garcia’s career and, to the surprise of many who saw him as an amateur, he is still to win one.
"If you’re disappointed at somebody making eagles and birdies, then you’re not a good sportsman.” - Sergio Garcia
He’s had his chances, for sure, most notably the Open in 2007 and PGA Championship in 2008. On both of those occasions, it would not be unreasonable to suggest he squandered his shot at glory. Sometimes, though, you just have to admit that someone has played better than you, which is true for his battle with McIlroy up to this point.
“If somebody plays that well, he deserves it,” said Garcia. “There’s nothing you can do. He’s playing that well. He deserves it and, if plays that well tomorrow, he’ll be a deserving champion. The only thing I can do is keep putting myself in these situations and hope that, one day, it will be my turn.”
He added: “The only thing I would have loved is to have hit a couple of better shots coming in on 17 and 18. That was what disappointed me a little bit more than seeing Rory making eagles and birdies. You can’t control that. If you’re disappointed at somebody making eagles and birdies, then you’re not a good sportsman.”
Inevitably, comparisons are being drawn ever more closely between McIlroy and Tiger Woods. Garcia admits that there are some similarities.
“I don’t think Rory has been as consistent as maybe Tiger was for so many years but when’s he’s best he’s out there. That’s true for so many really good players and they don’t have anything to envy to Tiger. I include myself in that. When I’m feeling good, when I’m feeling comfortable, I feel like I can hit any shot I want to.
Can Sergio Garcia catch McIlroy?
He’s seven shots back but can Sergio Garcia leapfrog Rory McIlroy to win the Open – and his first major – tomorrow afternoon? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.