H25 years ago, on July 11, Sergio García had his head shaved like a billiard ball. It was the bet he had made with his father Víctor and his attorney at the time, José Marquina, for having won the Irish Open, an extraordinarily precocious victory, at 19 years old, that catapulted him to the headlines of European newspapers and the book of the records at that moment. El Niño, the nickname that José Manuel Lara had given him because of the speed with which he rose through the amateur ranks in Spain, had become worldwide.

Thirty-six victories later, the 44-year-old golfer from Borriol, with two children, and 626 tournaments played, returns to Valderrama, his fetish field, the one he met when he was “13 or 14 years old in an international match”, without fully remembering. Here he won three times, prepared countless Majors helped by the generosity of Jaime Ortíz Patiño, who flouted the club’s rules that prevented any golfer outside the membership from playing more than seven rounds per year. Among the cork oaks at the top of the urbanization, among other successes, the genesis of the 2017 Augusta Masters was forged.

Sergio García, in 1999 at the British Open

His ambition remains intact. Sergio talks about “winning” in all of his speeches. He dreams of the perfect Sunday in which, as captain of the Fireballs – the team that now leads in LIV Golf – he adds the team and individual victory, to what Carlos Alcaraz could do in Wimbledon, the sport in which he shines the most later. of golf, and Spain in the Euro Cup. But, above all, as if he wanted to teach Azalea and Enzo a lesson, he talks about “effort, fight.” He almost feels prouder of having fought, without a prize, in the qualifiers of the British Open, the way he now needs to reach this tournament and the US Open for the exclusion from the world ranking of the League promoted by the Arabs to which he joined. joined in spring 2022.

This season he has achieved two second places -Mayakoba and Miami- which has placed him in seventh position of the LIV general classification, close to Brooks Koepka. “Let’s see if it turns out to be a good week and we fight on Sunday,” sighs Sergio, while not shying away from the role of tutor that he now has with the youngest, with David Puig, 22 years old, and Eugenio López Chacarra, 23. “It’s nice to see them “They’re two good kids. They’re obviously very talented. They can both hit the ball very far and very well. We have a lot of fun together and it’s fun to see them grow with us as we go.”

Sergio García (44), at the LIV Golf Andalucía press conferenceLIVE GOLF

In his review of his career he keeps the good moments, “I have always felt a lot of love in Spain”, he says when reminded that perhaps he found more recognition outside the walls at times than in his country, something that also happened to Seve. “Well, there may be times when you feel a little more valued in England or the United States. In a way I can understand what has happened to Álvaro Morata, who is also a friend, but I think what we have to do is support each other all because there are times when the press likes to sow a little tares.

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