It had been three long years since Sergio García last lifted a trophy - the HSBC Champions, a victory that lifted him to a career-high second in the world ranking. But last Sunday at his home tournament, the Castelló Masters, the Spanish golfer hit a 27-below par 257 to claim his second title at the Club de Campo Mediterráneo.
Question. You turned professional in 1999. What do you see when you look back?
Answer. I'm very proud of everything I've done, not just as a professional but also as an amateur, which people tend to forget about. I've rediscovered the desire to play and I want to get back into the positions I think I deserve to be in. The past two years have been difficult, on and off the course. They were tough but at the same time good. I have learned a lot about myself, not just in golf, but personally.
"Every time I see in my mind that putt at the 2007 British Open it goes in"
Q. What have you learned?
A. What I need to be happy, like being around the people who really devote themselves to me. I'm a calmer person now but my feelings have always been on show. It's my way of being; I'm Spanish, hot-blooded. Now I know myself a little better. I give golf the importance it has and no more.
Q. Do you regret anything?
A. No. Everything happens for a reason and you have to learn. I'm more mature now. Certainly, I found it more difficult than I'd hoped to reach that maturity, and not just on the course. You start to notice things. It's also difficult because I travel a lot and even though I have friends, I find myself half-alone.
Q. You have yet to win a major. Do you judge yourself on that?
A. It doesn't affect me at all. I have been on the verge of winning three. Unfortunately, it didn't come to pass. There are people who have the opportunity and it works out and they win. Then there are people who have six or seven chances, like me, and you come up against a Tiger [Woods] or a [Padraig] Harrington, or you do something that leaves you in second place.
Q. What is it that has been missing?
A. I can't go to bed thinking: "And if I'd done that..." At the 2007 British Open, every time I see that putt in my mind, it goes in. I hit it exactly how I wanted and where I wanted. But unfortunately it didn't want to go in. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don't.
Q. You talk of luck. Is it an excuse?
A. I don't care if people think it's an excuse or not. I'm not saying that it is. At the PGA in 2008, I hit a beautiful shot on the 15th, it hit the flag, went in the hole and bounced out again. It rolled two or three meters and I missed the birdie putt. These things can change everything.
Q. How did you lose your desire to play?
A. I became fed up with golf, without doubt. They are tough moments, and whoever says it hasn't happened to them is lying. There are always low moments when you think: "I wish I was doing something else." It's important to be surrounded by good people. If you're on your own, it's harder to get through.
Q. Did you think about quitting?
A. For a while, yes. I thought about taking a long break, six months or a year. But there were things I still wanted to do and I couldn't leave things as they were. I've always been a competitor. When things weren't going well, I lost the will to fight.