Garcia awarded Ryder guarantee

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The Independent Online

Sergio Garcia will definitely be playing in the Ryder Cup at The Belfry next month after being promised a "wild card" by European captain Sam Torrance. Garcia still has a slim chance of qualifying automatically by winning the BMW International at Nord Eichenreid but if not, his will be one of the two names announced by Torrance on Sunday evening.

"I've promised Sergio that he's in, whatever he does here," Torrance said. "I told him a while ago. Even so, he offered to come and play here which was a very nice gesture from one so young." The BMW International is the last event in the year-long qualifying process. Garcia currently lies 19th in the standings but only the top 10 on Sunday earn automatic places in the European team. Torrance will then add his two "wild card" selections.

The 21-year-old Spaniard has played mainly this season in the US, where he has won twice. Having moved up to seventh in the world, Garcia is now the leading European on the rankings, so it would be inconceivable for him not to be among those facing the Americans at The Belfry.

"Sergio is a boy who plays like a man," Torrance added. Two years ago at Brookline, aged 19, Garcia became the youngest player ever to appear in the event. His combination with Jesper Parnevik earned three and a half points out of four but the Swede is not certain of the other wild card with Jose Maria Olazabal, Ian Woosnam, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul Lawrie not yet qualified. Torrance would be given more options if Garcia could somehow still qualify.

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