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Sergio Garcia would consider Ryder Cup withdrawal

Sergio Garcia says he would be prepared to step down from Europe's Ryder Cup team this year if he felt his game was below par, despite qualifying on merit.

The world number six, who lies second in the European Ryder Cup world points standings, is on the verge of playing in the biennial event against the U.S. for the fourth time.

"If I feel I'm not going to help the team because of my game, then I'd definitely consider talking to the captain," the 25-year-old Spaniard said on Wednesday while preparing for the PGA Tour's season-opening Mercedes Championships in Hawaii.

"If I qualify by playing really well last year and this year I'm struggling big time and still manage to make the team, I would say: 'You know, I don't think I'm going to be a good thing for the team. Maybe this guy deserves it more than I do'.

"But I don't think it's going to be the case because hopefully I'll be playing well," Garcia added with a broad smile.

The 36th Ryder Cup will be played at the K Club in County Kildare, Ireland, from September 22-24.

Garcia, winner of the Mercedes Championships in 2002 and one of the favourites in this week's elite field of 28 at the Plantation Course, has a feeling this year could be his best at the top level.

A richly talented player who burst on to the world scene by finishing runner-up to Tiger Woods in the 1999 U.S. PGA championship at Medinah, the precocious Spaniard has so far failed to live up to the lofty expectations heaped upon him.

"We all know what we're capable of doing and you always have confidence in yourself and try to improve your game as the years go by," he told a news conference at Maui's Kapalua Resort.

"I think I've been working quite hard on it, especially my short game."

Although frequently let down by his putting in the big events, Garcia senses this could soon be a problem of the past.

"The putting is the one thing that has been giving me a bit of a headache, but I feel I'm getting over it," he said.

"I'm now hitting the ball more consistently in the middle of the putter's club face. If my putting is on, I feel I can do some damage."

Overall, Garcia is proud of a playing record that features six victories on the PGA Tour and the same number in Europe.

"If you look at it, I've been very fortunate," he said. "I've had a good career. I'm almost 26 years old, pretty well established in the top 10 with a lot of victories around the world.

"If you compare me with Tiger, who is something out of the ordinary, of course my career doesn't seem that great.

"But if you compare me with the other 25-year-old, 26-year-old players, I'm sure pretty much all of them would love to have a career like the one I have."

The Mercedes Championships starts on Thursday.

January 5, 2006


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