Sergio Garcia admits he sees this week’s Portugal Masters as an excellent warm-up for next week’s Ryder Cup – but that does not mean the Spaniard is not out to win.

The 2017 Masters Tournament winner was handed a Pick by Captain Thomas Bjørn and will tee it up in his ninth Ryder Cup at Le Golf National with the all-time points record for Europe in his sights.

First, however, comes this week at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, and Garcia believes his Portugal Masters debut is the ideal preparation for the biennial spectacular.

“I told Thomas, ‘if you end up picking me, I’ll make sure that I play something coming into the Ryder Cup’,” he said. “I didn’t want to be without playing for four or five weeks coming into such a big and amazing event.

“Portugal seemed like a good fit and I’m happy that I decided to come here. Obviously the course is nice, it’s going to be a good test and I’m excited for it.

“I took a couple of weeks off and started practising again. The game feels pretty good. Obviously there are some things here and there that I would love to do a little bit better and that’s what I’m working on. The game overall feels good.

“It’s just a matter of hopefully getting some good momentum, start building on that. If I can do that then I can gain some confidence and some good rhythm, that’s the goal this week.

“Obviously getting a win would be amazing, you can’t beat confidence. That would be nice but more than anything I just want to get some rhythm, get some competition juices flowing, that’s one of the main reasons that I wanted to come here.”

Garcia was in need of a Pick after his last victory came in that glorious three-win season of 2017, but the 38 year old insists he has no point to prove in Paris.

“I don’t need to show anyone,” he said. “The only thing I have to do is go out there and help Team Europe – my team-mates and my Captain and Vice Captains – not only with the game on the golf course but outside, in the team room and everything.

“There are things that are important to have in a team. I think that is one of the reasons why Thomas picked me, not only because of the game he knows I can play, but what I can bring outside of the golf course into the team room and stuff.”

Thorbjørn Olesen will make his Ryder Cup debut alongside Garcia next week, with the Dane having sealed the final qualifying spot on home soil two weeks ago at the Made in Denmark.

He is well rested since then and delighted to be back at a location where he feels comfortable, having taken a training break with his coach at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in March.

“It’s a place I always like to come back to,” he said. “I actually went here earlier this year to train for five days with my coach and caddie. It’s a place I’ve always enjoyed coming to – nice weather, good food.

“I feel like I know the course really well. I haven’t particularly performed the last few years here but I still feel like I’ve played pretty well.

“I can’t remember how many times I’ve played here, probably seven or eight times. I put it in my schedule early and I love coming here. Qualifying for the Ryder Cup didn’t make a change at all.

“I probably took eight or nine days off without any golf so obviously started the middle of last week to get back into it and I’m slowly getting back into the rhythm and hopefully can be fully ready on Thursday.”

Like Garcia, Olesen admits it is tough to keep his mind off of the Ryder Cup but the 28 year old insists he is focused on the task at hand in the Algarve.

“It’s obviously difficult not to think about next week, being my first Ryder Cup,” he said. “It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to that very, very much, so in the back of my mind it’s definitely there but I also want to try to perform this week, get some tournament golf after a few weeks off.

“I want to get as many reps in as possible and train well but when I get on the golf course I am trying to shoot the lowest score possible and not think about what’s going on next week.

“I’ve played well this year and had a lot of good results, I have the confidence. There are a lot of big names here so I wouldn’t say I’m the favourite but I would put myself in the mix for sure.”

European Tour News, Photos – Getty Images