Garcia returns to action minus caddie

Masters champion Sergio Garcia returns to golf at this week's Players Championship, though without his longtime caddie.

The Spaniard's long-time caddie Glen Murray is on a leave of absence as his wife has just given birth to their second child.

Fortunately, Garcia has been able to call on a pretty impressive replacement in countryman Jose Manual Lara, a professional golfer with two European Tour victories to his name.

Lara, 39, captured titles at the 2006 Honk Kong Open and the 2010 Austrian Open.

It's been a heady time for Garcia, who is still being congratulated on his Masters triumph wherever he goes – including at Sawgrass this week.

The Players Championship is a great tournament for Garcia to get back to work, considering he was victorious here only two years ago.

“It has been a fabulous few weeks and the reception I have received has just been amazing and also just seeing the reaction from people seeing me in the Masters green jacket,” he said.

“What also was very special was heading home to Spain and returning to the golf club where I first began playing golf.

“The reaction from the members and everyone there at the club was something I will never forget as everyone was just so happy for me.

“But it is time to get back to what I do best so I am looking forward to getting back into competition.

“I know that will be difficult for a few days as everyone already has been congratulating me and that is very nice.

“I have been practicing back at home to get ready for this week, so very excited to be back and looking forward to the week.”