DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – There was a time when being European No. 1 was a big deal. Seems those days are long gone, if Sergio Garcia’s attitude is anything to go by.
The Spaniard can end the year as Europe’s top player if he wins this week’s $8 million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Garcia must win and hope current No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood finishes outside the top 12, and No. 2 Justin Rose finishes fourth or worse.
Garcia really couldn’t care less.
“Winning the Race to Dubai is great but I’m not going to change my whole life for it,” Garcia said. “I’m happy finishing second, third or fourth or whatever.”
Maybe that’s what happens when you win your first major. Garcia’s Masters victory is one of his three wins on the 2016-17 European Tour schedule against two each for Fleetwood and Rose. Garcia could have applied some pressure if he’d teed it up in the previous two events, the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open and $7.5 Nedbank Golf Challenge, but he was too busy.
“I had some important things that I needed to take care of,” he said.
Doesn’t say much for European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley’s lucrative Rolex Series, does it? The eight-tournament series was supposed to attract Europe’s elite on a more consistent basis.
Garcia has no idea what he must do this week to finish No. 1.
“I don’t even know,” he admitted. “It doesn’t really bother me. … I’m going to go out there and try to do what I do every week, which is to play the best I can play and give myself the best option of winning. I can’t control what other people do.
“I see a 2-percent chance of me winning the Race to Dubai, but I’m fine with it. I can live with it. It’s been a great year, and that’s not going to change.”
Finishing European No. 1 is so far down the priority list he’s trying out new equipment. After 15 years with TaylorMade, Garcia is testing Callaway clubs for his last event of the year in preparation for changing equipment deals.
Amazing what a major victory can do to a player’s priorities. Or maybe the top golfers really do earn too much money?