Garcia back in the mix at Sawgrass

Garcia back in the mix at Sawgrass

Sergio Garcia, pictured, is still seeking a first major title (AP)

Sergio Garcia, pictured, is still seeking a first major title

First published in National Sport News © by

A year on from his dramatic final-round collapse, Sergio Garcia was back in contention for a second Players Championship title after an opening round of 67.

And the Spaniard was also happy to talk up his chances of winning a long overdue major title as he stressed he was not "a villain" in his row with Tiger Woods 12 months ago.

Woods and Garcia were tied for the lead in the final round with two holes remaining, only for 2008 champion Garcia to dump two balls into the water on the 17th and another on the last as Woods claimed the title.

The incident at least took some of the focus away from the frosty relationship - or lack of it - between the pair which had become a matter of public record.

Paired together in a third round played over two days due to bad weather, it took less than two holes for tensions to come to the surface with Garcia feeling he was put off on his approach to the second by crowd noise caused by Woods preparing for his own shot from the trees.

Woods insisted he had been told by a marshal that Garcia had already played before pulling a fairway wood from his bag, with the fans cheering the indication that the world number one would attempt to go for the green on the par five.

"I think it's over. I think it's passed," Garcia said on Thursday. "I didn't think I was a villain but I think that we've all moved ahead of that. I certainly have. I'm just looking forward to now and hopefully what's coming soon."

Whether that is a major title remains to be seen, with Garcia racking up 18 top-10 finishes in major championships since turning professional in 1999.

Two years ago he told Spanish reporters that he was not "good enough" to win any major after letting slip a promising position in the Masters, comments he said he regretted the following year after an opening 66 gave him a share of the lead at Augusta.

The 34-year-old re-iterated his regret on Thursday and added: "I think that when I'm on, I can definitely win anywhere. I think I've proven that. It's just a matter of getting that week where you feel good, where you feel comfortable, where things go your way, where everything feels relaxed, everything feels at ease and you manage to do things the way you know how to do them.

"I'm still waiting for that particular week. I've had, I would say, probably four really good chances and I'm hoping that I can get many more until I quit playing."

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