DUBAI (Reuters) - Former world number two Sergio Garcia, who has long battled a lack of confidence on the greens, says eye surgery last year has helped him to read putts better than ever as the Spaniard targets a first major win in 2013.
Since surgery in October to correct an astigmatism, the 33-year-old Spaniard has recorded a tied-ninth finish at the DP World Tour Championship before coming joint-second in his season-opener at last week’s Qatar Masters.
The world number 14, who came within inches of a first major triumph at the 2007 British Open when a seven-foot par putt on the 18th lipped out, now feels more comfortable when reading greens.
“Although I’ve always felt like I’ve been a good green reader, the surgery has helped me focus on small spots more easily than before,” Garcia told reporters on Wednesday ahead of the Dubai Desert Classic.
“When I was aiming before it would get a little blurry and then I would lose the spot a little bit. Now I can see a little bit sharper, so it makes it easier.”
Garcia, who won on the Asian Tour in December in Malaysia, came within a whisker of his 11th European Tour title last week when England’s Chris Wood eagled the last to deny the Ryder Cup player and South African George Coetzee a playoff.
Garcia has notched up eight top-five finishes in the four majors since he came second at the 1999 U.S. PGA Championship behind 14-times major champion Tiger Woods.
Writing by Tom Pilcher in London, editing by Ed Osmond