• European Tour

Garcia glad to be back in the swing

ESPN staff
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Sergio Garcia credits improvements in his short game for his resurgence © Getty Images
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Sergio Garcia believes that he has emerged from the protracted slump that blighted his 2009 and 2010 seasons as a stronger player as he closes in on a return to the world's top 10.

The Spaniard hopes to build on his fine start to the season at the Dubai Desert Classic having finished second at the Qatar Masters, a shot behind winner Chris Wood.

That result propelled the former world No. 2 back up to No. 14 in the latest standings, a far cry from the lowly 85th-ranking he fell to in 2010.

But Garcia, who at one point considered walking away from the sport, views the low points as the inspiration for his return to golf's top table.

"It's been two good years," Garcia said. "More than anything, I'm excited because I know how I'm feeling. I know how my attitude is on the course. I know how my will is to try to do things to get better.

"We had a good start of the season, which is always nice. So I just want to make sure that everything stays the same. Because I'm going to have bad weeks, but if I can manage to stay with the right attitude, even on the bad weeks, it's going to make the year go so easy and so much better."

The 33-year-old has come agonisingly close to a first major in the past, including runner-up finishes at the PGA Championship in 1999 and 2008 and a playoff at Carnoustie in 2007, but is not focusing on the big four at the moment, saying he will just keep playing golf and let the results speak for themselves.

"My form, I feel pretty good about it," Garcia said. "Do I feel like it's the best I've played my career? Probably not. But I feel fairly good for the most part.

"I've always said that the bad days and things like that or the bad losses, if you take them the right way, they are very good, because you can learn a lot from those days," Garcia said of his slump.

"I think that obviously putting is improved. It's got a lot more consistent. Chipping is improved. Probably my long game is obviously better than it was before."

Reigning Dubai Desert Classic champion Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who cites his fellow Spaniard as an inspiration in his own career, believes Garcia has become a different player in recent months.

"We all know he had a period where he wasn't enjoying golf, wasn't playing too good," Cabrera-Bello said. "I think he is well over that. Even if he is on the course and things are not going his way, he is looking at it from a different perspective. He is enjoying the game again."

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