Garcia finally rediscovers touch
Spaniard Sergio Garcia was in danger of becoming golf's forgotten man but he could just be hitting form in time for a title shot at the US Masters next month.
Garcia's four-under-par 68 in the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Friday left him well poised to contend over the weekend and showed that he is finally getting back into the groove.
"It feels good. Obviously I'm playing better. I'm able to do a lot of things better than I've been doing lately," the 31-year-old said after his round.
"I said it last week and I said it this week - it is a work in progress. It's getting there. It feels better but it's still not finished."
Garcia has not won a US PGA Tour event since the elite Players Championship in May 2008 as the man once tipped to be Tiger Woods's biggest challenger faded from attention.
The Spaniard's last victory anywhere was at the 2009 European Tour's HSBC Champions in Shanghai where he beat Britain's Oliver Wilson in a playoff to climb to a career-high second in the world rankings.
Since then, Garcia has slumped to 82nd as the sport's young guns have risen quickly above him.
That decline reflects the two-month break he took after missing the cut at last year's US PGA Championship but opening rounds of 68 and 66 at last week's Transitions Championship, where he tied for 15th, indicated something had clicked into place.
"There's obviously confidence coming back; if not, I would not be able to hit some of the shots I'm hitting," he said.
"Obviously we are not 100 per cent, but you know, we are slowly getting there. So it feels good to be able to shoot these kind of rounds."
Unlike many of his contemporaries, most prominently Woods, Garcia is not a big believer in coaches, video analysis and a constant focus on swing mechanics.
Instead of the language of the text book, Garcia prefers words such as 'feeling', 'sensation' and 'touch'.
"I'm going with some sensations and they feel good, but I'm not changing my swing," he said. "I'm trying to improve it, which is what you kind of do for your whole career, try to keep getting better and better.
"I've looked at videos once in a while, but very, very rarely. I'm more about feeling the shot I want to hit and feeling the swing. If it feels good to me, it looks good."
Garcia is careful not to dismiss the trend for elaborate swing evaluation, even though he personally finds such technical focus to be a distraction.
"For me, it can be (a distraction)," he said. "I don't know about for other people. Everybody is different. Some people like ice cream with sauce and others like it without sauce."