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Ryder Cup: Sergio Garcia ready to play veteran role to assist rookies

6:02 pm, 20th September 2018

The former Masters champion was handed a wildcard pick for Thomas Bjorn’s team at Le Golf National despite a disappointing season, where he missed the cut in all four majors and failed to reach the FedExCup Play-Offs.

Garcia returned to action with an opening-round 66 at the Portugal Masters as he looks to rediscover his game for next week, where the 38-year-old is looking forward to assisting the younger players in the European side.

“I have to, it’s my duty; I am the veteran,” Garcia told Sky Sports. “I like the way I was treated when I came into the team and I want to make sure the rookies feel good.

“The most important thing is that the rookies feel as comfortable as they can feel under the conditions we are going to be playing. If we can manage to do that, then we all gain in something.

“It [playing in the Ryder Cup] it is special, there is nothing like it. Obviously winning it is even better, but to have the possibility of being part of the Ryder Cup team and defend your colours, there’s no other tournament that does it.”

Beginning on the back nine, Garcia birdied three of his opening five holes to turn in 33 before cancelling out a three-putt from the fringe at the third with back-to-back gains from the fifth.

Garcia bounced back from a bogey at the seventh to fire a tap-in birdie at the par-three next, with a 12-foot putt to save par at the ninth keeping him within two strokes of the morning leaders.

“I’m happy with it,” Garcia added. “Some really nice things, a couple of shots here and there that I could have done better with, but overall I played a good level and it was nice to shoot a nice score.

“The goal was to come here and do as well as I can, but also get the competitive juices going to go through some of those motions on the golf course and some of those tough shots that you have here that you’ll also have next week.

“I tried to deal with them the best way and I was able to do that for the most part today, so hopefully I can keep doing that throughout the week.”

Watch the Portugal Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.

Get the dedicated Sky Sports Golf channel to watch every minute of the Ryder Cup. Find out more.