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British Open | Sergio Garcia swings easier wearing a green jacket

Sergio Garcia, of Spain, smiles after putting on his green jacket after winning the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/AP Photo

He had to wait nearly 20 years for his first major championship. He has no intention of waiting very long for his second. Sergio Garcia took the biggest monkey off any golfer’s back when he ended years of despair and near-misses by winning at Augusta in April and comes to Royal Birkdale as the proud owner of a green jacket.

There may not be such apparel on offer this week, but the Claret Jug has as much mystique and aura as any colored coat can offer. And Garcia knows the place the two of them hold in every pro’s heart when he was asked Monday which would mean more to him.

“It’s difficult to say; I think they’re both amazing” said the man who came close to winning the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie before losing in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. “At the moment the green jacket means more, because I have it, but everybody knows how much I love The Open Championship. And I would love to at least have one of them before I kind of hang up the boots.”

It seems to be the year for top golfers to tie the knot as Garcia has a wedding planned for next week. But he knows his attention has to be away from his future bride for the next few days.

“It’s on The Open, don’t worry” he laughed when asked which was more important. “(My mind is) going to be where it has to be this week. Angela has been doing a great job of getting everything ready for the wedding.”

Sergio is part of the run of first-time winners in majors that continued at the U.S. Open with Brooks Koepka claiming his main title. However, like many observers surrounding him Monday, Garcia did not have a reason for why that has been the case.

“I think it’s nice to see but I don’t know why,” Garcia said. “I think that it’s just one of those waves that happen. I would love to stop that trend, like I’m sure a lot of other guys would love to do the same thing.

“But it shows the quality of golf that everybody plays at right now. It’s a really high level, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve won a major or not, everybody can definitely do it. So that’s good to see.”

Garcia will play alongside 2015 winner Zach Johnson and Jason Day in the first two rounds.

And without that proverbial monkey affecting his swing, will certainly be amongst the favorites when Mark O’Meara hits the first shot at 1:35 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday.

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