Garcia strongly backs Harrington bid; GMac starts well in Korea
Pádraig Harrington

Pádraig Harrington

Sergio Garcia has all but vowed to go to war on the shore for Padraig Harrington if the Dubliner wins the 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy.

The pair buried the hatchet after years of tension at Rory McIlroy’s wedding last year and that trend continued at the Ryder Cup in Paris, where Garcia surpassed Nick Faldo as Europe's all-time highest points scorer.

What was once an icy relationship has now thawed to such an extent that the Spaniard sounds ready to give his all for Harrington if, as now seems certain, he leads Europe's Ryder Cup defence at Whistling Straits on the shores of Lake Michigan.

“We had chats in Paris, great chats, talking about the team, scenarios," Garcia told the Spanish golf portal having  said ahead of the €2 million Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Shane Lowry is one of the title favourites in an understrength field that also features Harrington, Gavin Moynihan and a host of players battling to keep their cards.

"Everything that happened between us in the past now and Padraig and I have a good relationship and we get on really well.

"If he's selected as captain and I am in the team, I will do everything possible to help him in any way I can to make the team as good as it can be. There's not much more to say."

European skipper Thomas Bjorn is also in Cadiz and while he gambled by giving Garcia a wildcard, he admitted yesterday he had to work hard to raise Jon Rahm's morale for his singles clash with Tiger Woods after playing him just twice before Sunday.

"On Saturday evening, when the draw came out I said to him, 'I put you up against the best player that has ever played in time, so here is your greatest opportunity.... You go out and win that match tomorrow and you’ll never ever think about the first two days'.” 

Wood addressed his listless Ryder Cup performance during a Q&A for his  Foundation at Pebble Beach this week,  explaining that he simply ran out of steam after securing his 80th PGA Tour win the Sunday before heading to Paris.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

Being forced to see off Rory McIlroy and world No 1 Justin Rose made his first win for five years even more special. 

"What validates it for me is the fact that I got a chance to go against Rory head-to-head in the final group, and also (Justin Rose), who was tied with Rory, a group ahead," Woods said. 

Michael Hoey, meanwhile, tees it up in the Challenge Tour's $500,000 Foshan Open in China, where a top-five finish would catapult him into the top 15 in the rankings who earn European Tour promotion heading into the season-ending Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final.

On the PGA Tour, world number 221 Graeme McDowell opened with a one-under 71 on his return to action in the  $9.5 million CJ CUP @NineBridges on Jeju Island in Korea.

Chez Reavie card a four-under 68 in cool, blustery conditions to lead by a strokes from Danny Willett and Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim.

McDowell mixed birdies fours at the 12th and 18th with a bogey at the par-three 13th on his front nine.

He birdied the first and fifth to get to three under but after a bogey at the sixth and a double bogey at the seventh, he rounded off his round with a birdie fourth at the ninth to share 11th place after the opening day on under.