ANTALYA: Masters champion Sergio Garcia deserves to be named European Tour ‘Golfer of the Year’ according to Justin Rose, one of the Spaniard’s main competitors for the honour.
Garcia is the standout favourite to win the award, which will be presented at the end of the European Tour season, for the first time on the back on his Masters play-off victory over Rose earlier this year at Augusta National.
Rose is well placed to finish top of the Race to Dubai money list but even if he achieves that, he believes Garcia would still be more deserving of the European golfer accolade.
“We all aspire to end a season being awarded the ‘Golfer of the Year’ title but given Sergio has won three times on the European Tour this year and one of those was a Major Championship, then he must be favourite,” said Rose.
“Sergio’s season has been the highest of the highs given he won a first Major in his career and he would be my own choice for ‘Golfer of the Year’.”
Englishman Rose tees-up in this week’s US$7 million (6m euros) Turkish Airlines Open having captured a first Tour title in two years last Sunday in Shanghai.
The effort took world No.6 Rose to third on the Race to Dubai standings but still just over two million points behind compatriot Tommy Fleetwood, with Garcia second some 800,000 points adrift of Fleetwood.
However, Garcia is not competing this week while both the Spaniard and Rose have elected to skip next week’s Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, the Tour’s penultimate event.
Rose won the Race to Dubai title in 2007 while Fleetwood’s prior best finish was 19th in 2014. Garcia’s best was third in 1999.
Fleetwood, who has played around twice as many tournaments as Rose and Garcia this season, will contest all three remaining European Tour events, including the season-closing DP World Tour Championship commencing November 16th in Dubai.
Meanwhile, Rose welcomed the news that good friend and countryman Paul Casey has elected to rejoin the European Tour, thus making himself available for Ryder Cup selection.
Casey, 40, has not been a member of the European Tour for nearly a decade while concentrating on the PGA Tour.
But thanks to the intervention of European Team captain Thomas Bjorn, the veteran of three European teams can put himself in contention for Ryder Cup selection.
“It is brilliant Paul has rejoined the Tour given the way he has played this past PGA Tour season,” said Rose.
“His consistency is good and just the way he plays golf is good. He is a power player and he would be such a massive edition to the team as he can play any format.
“He is experienced and Paul is the kind of player we need to really strengthen-up the team, absolutely.”--AFP