(Reuters) - Sergio Garcia has thoroughly enjoyed his newfound status as a major champion but the Spaniard is finally ready to stop basking in the glow of his U.S. Masters triumph starting at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.
Garcia is fresh off a share of 30th place at The Players Championship last week in his first start since his Augusta win, and plans to get back to basics on Thursday in the opening round at TPC Las Colinas at the Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas.
“As nice as it is to be the Masters champion ... I need to keep improving on every aspect of my game and focus on the week that we are (in) right now because it’s easy to start thinking about what happened a month ago and things like that,” said Garcia, who is the defending champion this week.
“We have to get going, get back into where we were (at Augusta) and make sure that we get some good confidence.”
Garcia shot a six-over-par 78 in the final round of The Players to drop well out of contention but, given his overall form, remains one of the favourites this week in a field that includes world number one Dustin Johnson.
The 37-year-old Spaniard will tee off in the opening two rounds with 2010 Byron Nelson winner Jason Day, the Australian world number four, and world number 15 Patrick Reed.
Johnson, who has three wins in his last five starts, is coming off a tie for 12th at The Players that marked his best career finish at TPC Sawgrass.
Hometown favourite Jordan Spieth, who missed the cut at last week’s Players Championship, has had an up-and-down season but the twice major winner will command the support of galleries as he plays the first two rounds with fellow Americans Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar.
Spieth, whose best finish here was a share of 16th as an amateur in 2010, is eager to join the list of winners inscribed on a wall behind the Byron Nelson statue near the first tee before the tournament moves 23 miles (37 km) away to Dallas next year.
“It’s a very special place for our family and friends,” Spieth said of Las Colinas. “It’s very bittersweet. Obviously fantastic memories and looking forward to creating new ones this week and hopefully the best ones yet.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Larry Fine