TOKYO (Reuters) - The King of Spain had his video recorder set up so as not to miss the last day of Europe’s epic Ryder Cup tussle with the United States, Sergio Garcia told Reuters on Monday.
The 32-year-old Garcia said he has found himself glued to the screen, just like friends not remotely interested in golf, to watch re-runs of Europe’s stunning triumph in Chicago last month.
”The week after when I watched the replays I was still getting goosebumps,“ the Spaniard said in a telephone interview. ”It was amazing to relive some of those moments.
“To actually see everything that happened on TV for us to win. It was amazing. It was something difficult to forget.”
Even King Juan Carlos I of Spain was briefly distracted from the affairs of state by the incredible drama unfolding at Medinah.
”He watched most of it,“ said Garcia who is set to finish his season in Dubai, Thailand and Malaysia. ”He couldn’t watch much on Sunday but he had the video set up for him to make sure he enjoyed it later.
“We chatted for about half an hour,” he added in reference to the special audience granted to Garcia, Europe skipper Jose Maria Olazabal and vice-captain Miguel Angel Jimenez at the Palace de la Zarzuela in Madrid last week.
“The king was a decent golfer himself. He doesn’t really play now but he was like a 12 handicap so he was really excited.”
Europe stormed back from 10-6 down to pinch the golden trophy from under the noses of the Americans, just as the U.S. had done to them at Brookline in 1999.
“I can’t believe the amount of people who told me they watched the Ryder Cup,” said Garcia who won the last two holes of his final-day singles match against Jim Furyk to record a one-up victory.
“Guys who have never watched any golf in their life. They were like ‘I just couldn’t switch off, I had to watch the whole thing, I didn’t want to get up (from the sofa),’ so that was very exciting to hear.”
Europe looked out of it when they trailed 10-4 before clawing back two points at the end of the penultimate day of the Ryder Cup, Garcia crediting the spirit of the late Seve Ballesteros for their miracle comeback.
”I had a feeling Seve was definitely watching,“ said the 10-times European Tour winner. ”When we won those two games on the Saturday afternoon everything kind of changed.
“The faces were different, the energy was different. Don’t get me wrong, we knew it would be very difficult and a lot of things had to happen for us to win, but at the same time ... the U.S. still had to win four and a half points.”
Brookline had demonstrated how great players can crumble and leads can quickly evaporate in the stomach-churning pressure of golf’s toughest team event.
“We knew we had to play well early on, put some pressure on them, see how they reacted,” said Garcia who made the first of his six Ryder Cup appearances at Brookline.
”Some of us had been in that position in 1999 and we knew how difficult it is when the guys you expect to win, don’t win.
“You realise then how much bigger your point is. We reacted better to the pressure than they did this time.”
Garcia remains convinced Ballesteros, who died last year at the age of 54 after a long battle with cancer, had played a major role in Europe’s jaw-dropping victory.
“For some of the things that happened ... I‘m sure there was a little bit of help from up there, from the Big Guy,” he said.
Editing by Tony Jimenez