Garcia confident of strong putting display

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After years of indifferent putting, Spaniard Sergio Garcia believes his hard work on the practice greens is about to pay dividends.

The mercurial shot-making wizard, often so reliable tee-to-green, has suffered with the flatstick throughout his career, but is fully confident ahead of this week's Open Championship at Birkdale.

"It feels good, I worked really hard for the past six months or so. I still need to get a little bit more consistency, but obviously I'm starting to see that some of the rounds, even when I don't make too many putts, I'm still hitting good putts, which is the goal."

And Garcia, who had his biggest career win at the Players' Championship in May of this year, says he feels no different at this year's Open for being the betting favourite.

"At the end of the day, I know that I've got to be favourite myself, in me. I have to go out there and do what I know how to do, believe in my ability to do it and then give myself a chance at winning," he added.

But while Garcia is confident ahead of tournament, he does not believe that Tiger Woods' absence will make it any less special for whoever takes home the Claret Jug on Sunday.

"It doesn't matter. With all due respect, the Open is bigger than any of us, even Tiger Woods. If I win this week, I'm not going to go 'oh, I've won the Open but Tiger wasn't there.' I still have the Claret Jug, which is the most important thing."

* Picture by Getty Images