Another major same old questions for Sergio Garcia

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' Sergio Garcias news conferences at the majors are starting to sound like therapy sessions.
There is the critique of his game, usually found to be lacking in some area or another. There are the questions about his psyche, whether golf is as fun as it was when he was that fresh-faced teenager with the cool El Nino nickname. And then, of course, the big one:
After that spectacular showdown with Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship, why has he not won a major already?
Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods at the PGA
Sergio Garcia is still in search of his first major win. (Getty Images)
After 99, I didnt come home and say, 'Oh, because of what I did at the PGA, I should win eight majors in the next six or seven years,' Garcia said Wednesday. No. You try to play your best and give yourself chances and win as many as you can. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesnt.
Ive had my chances, he added. Unfortunately, I havent taken them, but its just a matter of keep going, keep going at it, and believing that you can do it.
Garcia isnt even being mentioned as a factor at this weeks PGA at Hazeltine National (one top-10 finish this year will do that to a guy). Unfortunately for him, this is the 10th anniversary of that duel that seemed to herald golfs next great rivalry for the ages. With his oh-for-the-majors streak at 41 and his membership in the up-and-coming ranks long since expired, no way he could get by unnoticed.
Yeah, I would think so, Woods said last week when he was asked if he thought Garcia would have won a major by now. He hasnt gotten over the hurdle yet, but hes been there. Its just a matter of time. Sergio certainly has the talent to do it.
Thats part of the problem. If he were any but a handful of players, no one would know or care what hes done in the majors. Stewart Cink certainly wasnt on the clock before he won the British Open, and no ones hounding Paul Casey about his lack of a major title.
But Garcia was a phenom, Europes answer to Woods. The Spaniard was just 16 when he played his first major, the British Open, and 17 when he won his first professional event. He recorded the low amateur round at the 1999 Masters, then turned pro at 19. He played eight events his first season as a pro, and had top-10 finishes in four of them.
Then came Medinah.
He delighted fans by ripping balls through trees, leaping into the air to see where his shots landed and looking like he was having a grand time. He led after the first round, the youngest player to be atop the leaderboard at the PGA Championship since the tournament went to stroke play in 1958.
After trailing Woods by as many as five strokes on Sunday, a birdie on 13 got him within three. Following his putt, he turned around, looked back at Woods on the tee and tugged his cap as if to say, Your turn. When his tee shot on 16 sailed wide right and settled behind the knotted roots of a large oak tree, he grabbed a 6-iron, closed his eyes, swung and then sprinted out to the fairway to watch the ball land on the green.
When you are a youngster, you dont care about anything, Garcia said. You just play and hit it and find it and you dont worry about missing a fairway here or missing a green there. You just go along like nothing happened. Thats the beauty of it. Thats what we all try to get back.
Garcia has been in contention four times since then. He played with Woods in the final group at the U.S. Open in 2002 and again at the 2006 British Open, and with Padraig Harrington at last years PGA. He took a three-stroke lead into the final round of the 2007 British, and needed only to make a 10-footer on 18 to win.
Each time, hes fallen short, often spectacularly so.
I hesitate to say Im surprised he hasnt, because theres only four a year, and its just a lot of things have to go right for you to win a major, Cink said.
That he can be brattier than a 2-year-old without a nap hasnt helped Garcias cause. He whined about rain and supposed unfairness at Bethpage in 02, and gave a middle-finger salute to the rowdy New York fans who nicknamed him Waggle Boy. After falling apart at Carnoustie, he came across as ungracious when he failed to even mention Harrington, one of golfs class acts.
He even spit in the cup after three-putting at Doral.
I still love playing golf, Garcia said. Obviously I love it more when I play better.
By no means has Garcia been a washout. Hes won seven times on the PGA Tour and another 11 events worldwide, and Europe probably wouldnt have dominated the United States in the Ryder Cup all those years without him.
But as Phil Mickelson can tell him, its the majors that matter.
My game, Ive been working hard on it. Its still not where I would like it to be, said Garcia, who tied for 22nd last week at Bridgestone. Hopefully I can get it sorted out. If I manage to hit the ball the way I know I can hit it and my short game is in good shape, we could have a good chance here.
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm