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Garcia targets Claret Jug before wedding bells ring

© AFP / by Andy SCOTT | Spain's Sergio Garcia hopes to win the British Open before tying the knot with his fiancee Angela Akins

SOUTHPORT (UNITED KINGDOM) (AFP) - 

Sergio Garcia is due to get married next week but the Spaniard insists that planning his wedding is not getting in the way of his preparations for the British Open.

Before Garcia ties the knot with fiancee Angela Akins in Texas, he is aiming to win the coveted Claret Jug for the first time following some near misses in the past.

"Angela has been doing a great job of getting everything ready for the wedding. And obviously we're really excited for next week," Garcia, the Masters champion, said at Royal Birkdale on Monday.

"But we have something that we're also extremely excited about this week, and we want to be here giving everything we have and hopefully with a chance on Sunday."

Garcia, 37, has been grouped with 2015 Open champion Zach Johnson and Australia's Jason Day in the first two rounds of this week's Open, which starts on Thursday.

He came to Birkdale as a teenage amateur in 1998 and has since come desperately close to winning The Open.

He finished as runner-up to Padraig Harrington at Carnoustie in a play-off in 2007 and came second to Rory McIlroy at Hoylake in 2014.

But he shed off his nearly-man tag this year by claiming his first major title at Augusta in April, and even sported the green jacket on a recent trip to watch the tennis at Wimbledon.

Now he is eager to win more majors, although he is proud of what he has achieved in his career regardless.

"I've always said that consistency is one of my greatest attributes throughout my career. And of course I could have won more, but I think the consistency I've had for the last 18, 19 years is not that easy to do," he said.

"And I think some people overlook that. Hopefully I can make that even better this week."

Something that Garcia, the world number five, is well aware of is the recent success enjoyed by Spaniards on links courses.

After Jon Rahm won the Irish Open, Rafael Cabrera Bello took the Scottish Open on Sunday.

That completed a fine sporting weekend for Spain following Garbine Muguruza's triumph at Wimbledon.

"Spanish sport is at a good stage. It's been up there for a while. And obviously Rafa (Nadal) winning Roland Garros.

"So it's been a fun year for Spanish sports, but for Spanish golf it's been great.

"It's very exciting to see guys that you're friendly with winning and fellow countrymen doing great things. So we're going to try to keep it as much as possible."

by Andy SCOTT

© 2017 AFP