After his superb victory in the US Masters, Sergio Garcia has shown he has the necessary skills and self belief to go on to win The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale this July
Golf Monthly has been considering Sergio Garcia’s momentous victory in the U.S. Masters and how it could act as a springboard to further successes, particularly in an event where the Spaniard has come so close in the past – The Open Championship. Here below we consider the seven reasons why Sergio Garcia will win The Open at Royal Birkdale this year…
7 Reasons why Sergio Garcia will win The Open
Sergio displayed at Augusta that he has the power to cope with the longest, toughest courses. It is interesting to note that Sergio’s PGA Tour driving distance average in 2017 is 304 yards, five yards up on last season. Nowhere was this more evident than at Augusta where on the par-5 15th of the final round, a powerful drive left a mid-iron approach and the Spaniard went onto make a decisive eagle. Measuring 7,156 yards and with a par of just 70, length from the tee and strong iron play will be a key to success at Royal Birkdale.
Sergio Garcia’s Open record is impressive. He has registered 10 top-10 finishes in 19 attempts. This includes two second place finishes, the first of those coming at nearby Royal Liverpool in 2007. The fans at The Open will welcome him as one of their own when he tees it up at Birkdale as Masters champion. The Spaniard is a player who feeds on positive energy and he will have plenty to work with on the Lancashire coast this summer.
Sergio works hard on his fitness and proved at The Masters he has the endurance to go the distance in the toughest Majors. Augusta is a hilly course and he proved his endurance through regulation play and then the playoff. Birkdale will likely be a grind – battling the elements, a tough golf course and the firm ground.
The Major monkey is off his back
For Sergio Garcia, winning a major had gone from being his dream to being the cloud that was always hanging over him. Finally getting across the line at Augusta has lifted that cloud and is likely to result in a new, even higher level of performance. What’s more, Sergio no longer has to face questions about being the best player never to have won a Major. He has a Green Jacket and that should give him great confidence and a freedom to play his own, flamboyant and aggressive game.
Ball flight control
Sergio is one of the best ball strikers in the business and has a great ability to flight his shots. This was important at Augusta but will be vital on the coastal links at Birkdale, particularly if the wind gets up. His ability to call upon fades and draws whenever he needs them will enable him to access flags that other players simply will not get close.
Sergio is very near the top of the pile from tee to green. On the putting surfaces though, he sits further down the stats rankings. The greens at Birkdale are relatively flat, in comparison to Augusta at least, and Sergio will benefit from that. He’s a good lag putter and that will be an important skill on the links. There will be more of an emphasis on strong and accurate long game at Birkdale and that suits Sergio perfectly.
Links golf requires a dynamic and creative approach and Sergio possesses exceptional skills in both these departments. He is able to vary his shot shape at will, to hit punches, draws and fades. He is also a short game wizard with a full arsenal of shots at his disposal. For us, this is the final piece in the jigsaw and could help the Spaniard add a Claret Jug to his Green Jacket.