Masters champ Garcia eyes Aust Open glory

Evin Priest
Spaniard Sergio Garcia is looking forward to finally making his Australian Open debut in Sydney

Sergio Garcia has undertaken one of the more unusual preparations for the Australian Open: playing one of the world's most iconic holes 15 times in a row.

The Spanish winner of the Masters at Augusta will make his Open debut on Thursday and, as a marquee signing, has had numerous corporate outings in Sydney.

One included playing the par-3 sixth hole at New South Wales Golf Club repeatedly with amateur guests for his sponsor, Credit Suisse.

"I played the sixth hole 15 times in probably 40 km/h wind; that was fun," Garcia joked on Wednesday at Open host The Australian Golf Club.

The ocean-side sixth hole at La Perouse is regarded as one of the world's finest par 3s.

It is the centrepiece of a course designed by Augusta National architect Alister MacKenzie and was recently ranked No.46 in the world by GOLF Magazine.

"It was a wonderful golf course. It looked stunning," Garcia added.

Garcia now turns his attention to the Australian Open, where he hopes to tap in to the event's history of catapulting its champions to major-winning form.

Garcia endured almost 20 years of heartbreaking close calls at the majors before donning the green jacket at Augusta in 2017.

He has won three European Tour events since then but Garcia's results at golf's four biggest events have been shocking.

Garcia has missed the cut in seven of the 11 majors since his Masters win, with a best result a tie for 21st.

But the supremely talented Garcia said he was not resting on his laurels.

"You feel satisfied because (winning a major) is something you want to do for so many years," he said.

"It's not like after winning the Masters we stop practising; we want to keep achieving."

Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus are among the golfing icons who have etched their names on the Open's Stonehaven trophy.

But recently, the Open has made a habit of inspiring champions to almost immediate success at the majors.

Rory McIlroy claimed the British Open and US PGA Championship only months after winning at Royal Sydney in 2013, while Jordan Spieth won majors in the years after his 2014 and 2016 Open victories.

It was one of the lures for Garcia to make his Open debut - as a 40-year-old.

"The names ... are very impressive; it just shows you the quality of this tournament," he said.

"It's a shame that I haven't played this Open before but I'm excited to play well and give it a good run."