Garcia ready for Singapore Open challenge
Boyish was his charm. Childish his behaviour.
And haste was an appropriate middle name, for like a wantaway footballer, he seemed to be always in a hurry.
That was 15 years ago when Singapore fans last saw Sergio Garcia (alongside Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh and Padraig Harrington) at the Tiger Skins at Tanah Merah Country Club's Garden Course.
Then, the precocious talent jumped and leapt on the course, stood on anything high enough to climb to watch where his ball landed and was full of expression.
Once on a reasonably long par-five hole, the Spaniard threw caution to the wind and whacked a three-wood between trees and ran along a sloped fairway for about 30 metres to watch his ball land.
"On the green," was the echoing shouts from the gallery, and he stopped, beamed and waved to his supporters.
Then he was only 24, a rookie pro. Today, he is a matured global star, fully seasoned with noteworthy exploits on the US PGA Tour, European Tour, Ryder Cup and the Majors.
Calm and composed was he at the press conference at Sentosa Golf Club yesterday, taking each question with seriousness, and his answers were politically correct, though lacking in punch or persuasion.
What's in store for the SMBC Singapore Open?
"Hopefully, I will have a good week. I want to keep getting better and keep the consistency level at where it is," said Garcia.
"I guess being healthy always helps.
"I have not had any major injuries so that always helps to keep good rhythm on your golf and your career.
"If I come here and I win only once or twice, or none, but feel like I have given everything I had, that is all I can ask for."
Later at a TaylorMade launch, he was relaxed and chirpy, hitting some great shots with the newly-launched M1 and M2 clubs as the 100-odd appreciative crowd tossed in the "oohs" and "aahs".
Garcia will only have his first feel of the challenging Serapong Course today, but revealed that he had some idea of the layout having watched past Singapore Opens and the HSBC Women's Champions on television.
The early vibes are that the newly-engaged Garcia will be a crowd favourite.
But to please his fans, the world No. 15 has to play steady golf to subdue the challenge from three-time winner Adam Scott, Ernie Els and a host of Japan Tour and Asian Tour stalwarts.