Most eyes will be on Sergio Garcia at this week’s Open de España which started today at El Prat near Barcelona.
Garcia, who just missed out on his second Players Championship title in Florida last week, hopes to build on his remarkable record on home soil.
The Spaniard has won five of his 11 European Tour titles in his homeland, although only the first of those five back in 2002 came in his national Open.
The 35 year old Ryder Cup star said: “It’s great to come back to Spain, and play at the Spanish Open – my own Open in my own country. I’m excited about it and hoping to do nice things here this week too.”
But he will encounter stiff opposition not least from fellow countrymen, hometown hero Pablo Larrazábal and Miguel Angel Jiménez who is determined to defend his title.
The veteran has vowed to fight all the way to retain his national Open.The 51 year old extended his own record as the European Tour’s oldest winner at PGA Catalunya last year – striking lucky on home soil at the 27th time of asking and 31 years after his tournament debut.
He said: “It’s a nice feeling that you win the Open of your country – I believe every player wants to do that. You come here thinking you can win – it’s the thing that motivates you to keep on playing.
“It’s nice to come here and defend the Spanish Open, it’s great and I will try to do my best and put my tooth and nails into it.”