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Defending champion Garcia in confident mood

Sergio Garcia, the defending champion in the Linde German Masters which starts here today, said his win over Tiger Woods in their recent television match had done wonders for his state of mind. "Some people," he ventured, "don't like to play Tiger but I do. If I beat him, it gives me confidence."

There was the suspicion that playing alongside the world No 1 had also done something for his fitness. He looks as if he has followed Woods in shedding all excess weight. Garcia said he could understand why people might think that but the truth was that he was taller rather than thinner.

Taller? The young man nodded before explaining that it was all down to a recent dose of influenza. "When you have flu for a few days and you get better, you are taller when you get out of bed," he said.

Garcia still in confident mood after his win at Bighorn.Allsport.

At the tour fitness van, the experts pondered this. Jonathan Shrewsbury, the senior physiotherapist, suspected the Spaniard had his wires crossed, wondering if Garcia thought there was a cumulative effect when a person stayed in bed for a few days. It was more likely that the illness had coincided with a growth spurt.

Lee Westwood said last week that the winning of the Belgacom Open would rank no higher than fourth on his list of priorities. This week, he is more enthusiastic. Now he has five wins, he is out to match Severiano Ballesteros's record six in one season.

Westwood, like Garcia, is confident, with his father, Butch Harmon and Pete Cowan having all said his swing is as good as ever.

 

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