Retaining Masters title a big ask - Garcia

Sergio Garcia says it will be a tall order to win back-to-back Masters titles, but feels his game is in good shape.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia   -  Getty Images

Sergio Garcia knows he faces a huge challenge to retain the green jacket this week but counts himself lucky that he can play in the Masters until he "can't walk".

The Spaniard finally claimed an elusive first major title at Augusta last year, beating Justin Rose in a play-off.

Garcia will start the defence of his title on the back of three consecutive top-10 finishes, but is aware it would take something special to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only men to have won the Masters back-to-back.

"The simple answer is it's just difficult to win. It doesn't matter if it's back-to-back or just one." he said.

"People don't realise how difficult it is to win any tournament, and a major is even tougher, and Augusta and the Masters, it's even more difficult.

"It's just not easy to do it one time, so imagine twice. And back-to-back. It doesn't mean that I'm not going to give it my best shot and I'm going to try as hard as I can, but it's not easy to do it."

Garcia may have shed the burden of not having won a major last year, but that will not stop him from being nervous when he tees off on Thursday.

He added: "I feel like my game feels quite solid. I'm obviously coming off three good tournaments, three top‑10s. But every week is different, and it's just a matter of how I'm going to feel on Thursday, how the nerves are going to be, because I know I'm going to be a little bit nervous. 

"This is my first time defending a major and a green jacket, so it's new to me. But I'll try to go through the things that I know help me and hopefully get off to a good start, decent start, and really enjoy the week. 

"But no matter what, this week is going to be amazing, and the most beautiful thing about it is that I get to play the Masters until I can't walk. So that's pretty cool."

Garcia has been paired with Justin Thomas and amateur Doc Redman and will tee off for his opening round at 10:53am local time.

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