Windy Doha a concern for title favourite Garcia

 27 Jan 2016 - 1:03

Windy Doha a concern for title favourite Garcia
Spain’s Sergio Garcia gestures at a press conference ahead of the Qatar Masters starting today at the Doha Golf Club.  

By Rizwan Rehmat
DOHA: Former champion Sergio Garcia is a little concerned that strong desert winds could present a major challenge to the players at the $2.5m Qatar Masters.

The 2014 champion, however, remains one of the favourites to lift the title at the Doha Golf Club (DGC) provided that he can ‘tackle to chilly winds’ enveloping the Qatari capital.
Defending champion Branden Grace of South Africa and compatriot Louis Oosthuizen will join the field at the 18-hole, 7,374-yard, par 72 championship course.  
Another South African Ernie Els  - champion in 2005 - is also part of the strong field in Doha.
“The course is good. Obviously it’s getting windy. It’s supposed to get even windier,” Garcia said yesterday. 
“So it’s not going to be easy but course looks in very, very good shape and you know, it’s always a good week to start my year,” the 36-year-old said.
“I’m excited about it. I’ve obviously always enjoyed coming back here to Qatar to the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. So I’m obviously looking forward to it,” the Spaniard added.
Garcia said he feels at ease teeing off at DGC, one of the first grass golf course ever built in the Middle East
“I guess I feel quite comfortable on the golf course. It kind of caught my eye the first time I played it (in ’99) and I played it pretty much every year since,” Garcia said.  “So I obviously like what I see out there, and when you can play on one of those courses that you feel comfortable, usually you seem to do fairly well,” he added. 
Garcia said he is still motivated to do well on the pro circuit. 
“My appetite is the same. Obviously it’s nice to see a lot of these young guys playing and playing well, because that means that the future of the game is in good hands,” Garcia said when asked to comment on the emerging talent in golf. 
“Obviously I love playing golf, I enjoy every minute of it, and I try to push myself to become better every year, better and more consistent. That obviously hasn’t changed,” he said.
Garcia said he was relieved that golf was not affected by the menace of fixing. 
“Yeah, I think so,” Garcia said when asked if golf was safe from fixing scandals.  “I mean, you never know what everybody else is doing, but obviously when it comes down to me, I’ve never really been on any sport, I’m not really a betting man, not even football or tennis or any other sport. “I obviously haven’t done it in golf either. I guess there’s always funny people around, you find it anywhere. But hopefully we won’t have any of those problems,” he said.
“I think the image of golf has always been very good with those things, and hopefully it will be fine. But when it comes down to ... there’s so much money involved, there’s always people betting but hopefully it will be fine,” he said.
Garcia said Matt Fitzpatrick - his partner in the first couple of rounds in Doha starting today - has shown promise to be considered for this year’s Ryder Cup. 
“He obviously has a good chance of making the team. He’s been playing very well and he’s got a lot of potential,” he said. 
“Obviously (I) played with him in Thailand, I think it was, last year, at the end of last year. 
“Yeah, he looks like the kind of player that could definitely make the team, the odds are definitely looking good.  
“I would probably expect to see at least four or five new faces. That’s the way it looks at the moment. You never know as the year goes by. But at the moment it looks like there’s probably at least four, three – between three and five young guys that could be on that team in September,” Garcia said yesterday. 

The Peninsula