Sergio Garcia has Masters shot, says Butch Harmon
Last Updated: 10/04/13 12:22pm
Sergio Garcia has 'a good chance' of becoming the first European to win the Masters since Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999, says Butch Harmon.
"I think Sergio is one that we'd better think about winning at Augusta."
Garcia, 33, has not finished in the top 10 at Augusta since 2009, while his best finish came five years before that, when he came home tied-fourth alongside Bernhard Langer, six shots behind champion Phil Mickelson.
Yet Sky Sports pundit Harmon believes the Spaniard, who played a key role in Europe's 2012 Ryder Cup success after winning August's Wyndham Championship, now has the all-round game to finally follow in the footsteps of Olazabal, who beat Davis Love III to the coveted Green Jacket by two strokes 14 years ago.
"Sergio is putting so much better," said Harmon. "I think he will have a good chance at Augusta, I think his game suits it; I really do.
"Everybody thinks that the long hitters have a great chance and so on and so forth but I think if you don't have a short game to match your long game or imagination and creativity around the green, it hurts you at Augusta.
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"Sergio has all of those qualities and now that he putts better I think Sergio is one that we'd better think about [winning] there."
To do so Garcia will have to upstage Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the two pre-tournament favourites as well as McIlroy, who Harmon believes has a better chance of winning the title now that he is not World No 1. Read the story here...
The Spaniard will also have to outclass several other team-mates who helped carve out Europe's remarkable 14½-13½ victory over USA in the Ryder Cup, most notably Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald and Justin Rose - although Harmon has his doubts about the Englishmen's games.
"G Mac obviously has the game to do it, he has the whole package," he said. "He is a great player, he drives the ball good and his short game is good.
"You go and look at the world rankings and you can see that Luke Donald is right there in good shape," he added.
"I don't know if Luke drives the ball enough to play good at Augusta, his game is good enough but I don't know if his drive is good enough.
"Justin Rose should play well there, I'm not sure his short game is 100 per cent as good as it needs to be there.
"Ian Poulter does have the short game and the putter to win at Augusta and boy wouldn't that be something, to have had Bubba [Watson] won last year and to follow that up with Ian Poulter, that would be something."
Special Report - American Ambition
However Harmon is less positive about the title chances of World No 13 Lee Westwood, even though the 40-year-old told Monday's Special Report that he is confident he can mount a serious challenge.
Westwood almost matched his best-placed Masters finish - second spot in 2010 - last year when he finished in a four-way tie for third spot.
The Worksop-born golfer admitted afterwards that his quest for a first Major had been undermined by a putting display that was not up to scratch and Harmon believes Westwood's form on the greens is still not good enough.
"I think Westwood's short game keeps him from winning Augusta, I think it's the one Achilles Heel there is in Lee's game.
"Tee to green he is as good as anybody there is in the world and has been for the last 10 or 15 years but I think his inability to get up and down around the greens really hurts him in Major Championships."
The Masters on Sky Sports
Sky Sports will show all four days of the Masters (April 11-15) live and in high definition, while there will also be special 3D coverage for certain portions of the event. Check out our Augusta microsite here for more details, as well as news, features, blogs, player profiles, and videos.