Having spent the first fortnight of his green-jacketed reign seemingly here, there and everywhere wearing golf's most-coveted garment, but now revitalised by two weeks of "doing nothing" at his home in Switzerland, the 37-year old Spaniard was in relaxed mood on the eve of an event he won in 2008.
After finishing in a tie for seventh at The Masters, Rory McIlroy headed back to his rented house in Augusta to watch one of the greatest back nine duels in the tournament's history. You know, the support from fans and supporters and everyone around the world has been wonderful. A former victor of the The Players Championship, Garcia is hopeful of repeating his triumph from 2008.
Since his first major championship a month ago at Augusta National, the Spanish golfer has worn his prize on top of the Empire State Building, on a mountain in the Alps and on the pitch for a major game between Real Madrid and Barcelona. "He gave me the biggest hug, and I felt like - I don't know, like a little piece of - like a little branch or something on him".
"I cried", Rory McIlroy said.
"They've been so happy for me to get my first major and win the Masters". "And then I was going to go out Wednesday and I thought, gosh, if I walk around in the heat I'll get exhausted. That shows me how my fellow players respect me and care about me and it's something you really can't replace".More news: Oil rebounds on Saudi assurances Russian Federation will extend supply cuts
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And despite the magnitude of that win, Garcia insisted he would not change his approach this week or beyond.
"Just to see what he's been through, and his struggles, and for it to be there ..." There are three more majors ahead of them, with plenty more to accomplish. "I've hit some really good shots but I hit some shots that I wasn't hitting lately, so I need to kind of tighten that up a little bit". He was trying to apologize for something he said on Sunday, and I was like, it's fine.
"I went with the "less-is-more" approach this year". "I'm excited, I'm not going to lie to you".
But Thursday he used his 52-degree wedge to author another positive memory on one of the most iconic holes in golf.
Standing on the 15th green Wednesday at The Players Championship, the Masters champion turned to TaylorMade tour manager Keith Sbarbaro and said, "What's the ETA on the golf ball?" "I'm sure a lot of things will go through my mind about that week, but it's a great thing to have".