With a recent PGA Tour record which reads second, second, second, Sergio Garcia could be forgiven for taking a negative attitude into the 96th US PGA Championship, which gets under way on Thursday..
After all, this is the man who famously bemoaned his bad luck when he squandered a three-shot lead in the final round of the Open at Carnoustie before losing a play-off to Padraig Harrington.
And it is the same man who told reporters at the Masters in 2012 that he was not good enough to win a major and had concluded he needed to “play for second or third place.”
But Garcia is very much taking the positives from his recent run of form, which saw him push Rory McIlroy all the way in the Open Championship and then let slip a three-shot lead over his Ryder Cup team-mate in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.
“Obviously finishing second is not the greatest but the only guy that loses is the one that has a chance of winning,” Garcia said.
“I’d rather finish second and lose than be 50th and not have a chance.”
Told that Jack Nicklaus had said he was a victim of bad timing to play so well just as McIlroy was on top form, Garcia added: “I wouldn’t say bad timing. I think playing well, it’s always great. And if somebody else is playing better than you, there’s nothing you can do.
“I can see what Jack is referring to in a way, but the only thing I can do is try to play the best I can and to the best of my ability on that certain day.
“If somebody else plays better, the only thing I can do is congratulate him and move on.
“The thing is to not look at it as a disappointment itself,” he added.
If you look at it in a negative way, it doesn’t matter how well you do or whatever you do, you’re always going to see the bad things.
“I could stand here and go, ‘Oh, I shot 27 on Friday (on the back nine at Firestone Country Club), but if I would have made that putt on 11...’. Why would I do that? I had an unbelievable round (a 61 which equalled the course record). Why would I look at it in a negative way? I try to look at things more positively.
“I think that so many things happen in your life and happen in golf where you feel maybe that you should have gotten something better, so why look at it that way. Just try to enjoy the good moments as much as possible. I’m really excited about the way I’m playing and I think looking at it that way, has probably helped me.
“I’ve always wanted to win at least one (major), but I would never say I felt urgency about it. If I get to 45 and I haven’t won one, then I’ll probably start worrying a bit more. But hopefully that won’t happen.”
Garcia failed to win a match when Europe lost the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in 2008, their only defeat in the 21st century, managing two halves from three team matches and losing the opening singles 5&4 to Anthony Kim in a fiery affair.
But the 34-year-old could even reflect on that with a smile, adding: “I remember the first hole with Anthony. We both hit it stiff to like two feet and I asked him for a half and he said no. I gave it to him and then he made me putt mine.”