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After almost walking away from the game, Garcia is back in form and a favorite to win in Dubai

  • Spain's Sergio Garcia gestures during the final round of the Qatar Masters Golf Tournament in the capital Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)The Associated Press

  • Spain's Sergio Garcia plays his shot on the 15th hole during the third round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters held at the Doha Golf Club in Qatar, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)The Associated Press

Less than three years ago, Sergio Garcia was mired in a slump so prolonged that he missed out on the 2010 Ryder Cup team and saw his ranking fall as low as 85th. He moped around the golf course and at one point talked of giving up the game altogether.

But rather than walking away, the former No. 2-ranked Spaniard said Wednesday that he used those dark days in 2009 and 2010 as an inspiration to find his way back. He has won twice in each of the past two years and a victory this week at the Dubai Desert Classic could propel him into the top 10.

He is up to 14th in the latest rankings, after finishing second at last week's Qatar Masters, a shot behind winner Chris Wood.