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Its majors that count for Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia could replace Tiger Woods as world number one by winning this week’s WGC-CA Championship but the Spaniard is more excited about the prospect of clinching a maiden major title.

Second-ranked Garcia is yet to win one of golf’s grand slam events despite several close calls and will get his first chance to break through this year at the April 9-12 Masters.

“I think that being number one in the world is great but I would rather win a major,” Garcia told reporters at the Doral Golf Resort on Tuesday. “It’s just the way I feel.

“The only thing I can control is myself and my game. If I manage to play the way I know how to play and perform the way I know how to perform, the rest will come with it.”

Should Garcia win his first World Golf Championships (WGC) title at Doral this week and Woods ends up in 27th place or worse, the Spaniard would take over at the top of the rankings.

WGC history weighs heavily in the American’s favour, though, with Woods having piled up an astonishing 15 victories since the elite events were launched in 1999.

Six of those have come at the WGC-CA Championship, with his most recent at Doral two years ago.

However, Garcia has never been closer to the top of the global pecking order and the idea of deposing Woods certainly appeals to him.

“It would be great, but it’s pretty much that,” the 29-year-old said. “It would be nice to accomplish something like that, and more than anything when Tiger is around, which is even tougher. But you can’t say more than that on it.”

Long established as world number one, Woods has watched his stranglehold at the top steadily loosen week by week after being sidelined for eight months since midway through last year while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery.

After his astonishing playoff victory at Torrey Pines in June, Woods enjoyed a substantial lead of 11.328 ranking points over second-placed American Phil Mickelson.

He has since returned to the PGA Tour, losing in the second round of last month’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and now leads world number two Garcia by just 1.59 points.

The Spaniard, a seven-times winner on the PGA Tour, accepts he has a mathematical chance of dethroning Woods, but he has given it very little thought.

“Not that much,” Garcia said. “Obviously, a little bit because you have a chance. If you don’t have a chance, then there’s no way of thinking about it. But no, not a lot.”

Woods, a 14-times major champion, first claimed the top spot on June 15, 1997 and has held the position since regaining it from Fiji’s Vijay Singh on June 12, 2005.


March 11, 2009

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