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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

No regrets for Sergio Garcia after Spaniard narrowly misses out on Race to Dubai title

Reigning Masters champion says he was right to skip key tournaments in 2017 to spend more time with expectant wife

At one point during the DP World Tour Championship, Sergio Garcia was close to winning the Race to Dubai title. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images
At one point during the DP World Tour Championship, Sergio Garcia was close to winning the Race to Dubai title. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

At one point, Sergio Garcia was on to pull off the unlikeliest of unlikely victories.

Having scorched the Earth course with eight birdies in his final round on Sunday, the Spaniard stood on the 18th tee at the DP World Tour Championship in a four-way tie for the lead.

The reigning Omega Dubai Desert Classic champion, not to mention the reigning Masters champion as well, Garcia then found the creek with his second shot on the final hole of the final stop on the 2017 European Tour.

Eventually making bogey, he finished with a 65 and ended up in a tie for fourth, two back from winner Jon Rahm. His chances of a Dubai double had disappeared.

A Dubai treble, too. Not long after Garcia had signed for 17-under par, it transpired that, given the positions of Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose in the field at that time, victory at Jumeirah Golf Estates would have also landed him the Race to Dubai trophy.

Not to worry, though. Beginning Sunday five shots off leader Rose in tied-13th, Garcia knew that both the tournament and the seasonal title always represented a long shot.

“The problem is when you're that far back, you can't have any hiccups,” he said. “You're under pressure the whole time. You know that you have to almost birdie every hole out there. I feel like 10-under was not going to be enough.

“We gave it a good shot and we’d love to finish a little better than the last couple of holes. But overall, it was a great week.”

Extend that to the season. Garcia won wire-to-wire at the Desert Classic in February. Two months later, he prevailed at Augusta to secure, finally, a first major. At 37, one of the game's most talented players had one of the sport's most prized possessions. It was his 74th attempt. In October, he won his own event in Valderrama.

Personally, 2017 has been memorable as well. Garcia is only recently married, while his wife Angela is expecting their first child.

It explains why he skipped the previous three European Tour events - China, Turkey and South Africa - when he was chasing down Race leader Fleetwood and slipped to third in the standings, behind Rose.

It explains, also, why Garcia departed Dubai with no regrets.

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“Not at all,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, you do what you feel is best, not only for you, but for your family. Angela and I, we needed to do some things related to the baby. Obviously some checkups and stuff that I wanted to be a part of.

“I don't regret it at all. It's fine. You never know, I might have gone to Turkey and South Africa and China and not played great, and then we'll be here. I don't like to play too many tournaments in a row and it would be way too many tournaments in a row. We did what we thought was best.”