Emotional Baggage Sergio Shows No Signs of It

By Associated PressAugust 9, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Between his suitcases and clubs, Sergio Garcia had no room for emotional baggage.
 
Giving away the British Open ruined Jean Van de Velde. Last anyone remembers him, the Frenchman was standing in a creek at Carnoustie. Colin Montgomerie's major disappointment did a number on him, too. Since coughing up the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, he's missed the cut at every major -- the longest dry spell of his career.
 
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia began his quest with a even-par 70 at Southern Hills. (Getty Images)
For anyone thinking Garcia was headed down that same road, well, check out the leaderboard at the PGA Championship.
 
If not for a couple of missed reads on his last two holes Thursday, Garcia would be right with the leaders at Southern Hills. Still, with an even-par 70, he was only three strokes behind early leader John Daly.
 
'On a scale of 100, there were probably 95 positive things and five negative things. So you can't forget about a week that is so positive,' Garcia said of the British, where his name was all but engraved on the claret jug until he missed a 10-foot par putt on 18. He lost to Padraig Harrington in a playoff.
 
'The British, even though I didn't win, it's going to be good for me in the future,' Garcia said. 'Just getting in that position and holding the lead for three days at the biggest tournament we have. So that definitely is going to help me throughout my career.'
 
That's a far rosier outlook than he had at Carnoustie, where he whined about his bad breaks so loudly and annoyingly, Al Davis and NBA coaches were taking notes.
 
And more than a few wondered how long the hard luck hangover would last.
 
This, after all, is the guy who was supposed to challenge Tiger Woods major for major after making a splash at the 1999 PGA Championship. So far, though, his biggest title is 'best player never to win a major,' and disappointments like the one Garcia had at Carnoustie have haunted other players.
 
But there he was Thursday, at the top of the leaderboard for much of the morning. Those two late bogeys brought him back to the pack, but the triple-digit afternoon temperatures and fickle wind made par a more-than-respectable effort.
 
'Overall, not a bad round,' Garcia said. 'Nice way of throwing a good round in the trash with two bad reads in the last two holes.'
 
Starting on the back nine, the Spaniard sprinted to the top of the leaderboard with three straight birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 13. He had birdie chances on the next three holes, too.
 
'I could have been easily 4 or 5 under through seven,' Garcia said. 'There were good pins out there that if you manage to hit in the fairway, you can attack.'
 
Tulsa feels more like Thailand this week. Not even a Woods sighting can budge the fans who stake out spots under trees, and players are drenched in sweat.
 
Even Garcia, raised on Spain's Mediterranean coast, was feeling the heat.
 
'It's not as hot in Spain. Not as humid, either,' he said. 'You're constantly sweating, so you have to dry yourself, dry your arms, your hands, the grip, and 15 seconds later, you're sweating again.
 
'So it's not easy. It takes a lot of time to get ready.'
 
So much so that Garcia's group was put on the clock when they made the turn.
 
Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy and Tom Lehman were warned on the 16th hole to pick it up. By the time they got to the No. 1 tee, the group ahead of them was out of sight.
 
'We tried, but at the same time, it's not just that you have to dry yourself. It's that there's a lot of holes where two greens are close to each other, so you have to wait for the other guys,' Garcia said.
 
'The (birdie) putt I missed on 16, I probably missed it because I rushed it a little bit, tried to hit it before Hunter Mahan. He was on 13.'
 
Spacing was one of the things that raised Garcia's ire at Carnoustie -- he had an extended wait before his second shot on 18 in the final round -- and the news Thursday that his group was on the clock prompted an animated discussion with a rules official as he walked down the No. 1 fairway.
 
After venting, though, he got right back on his game.
 
He ran into some trouble on No. 4. In the left rough off the tee, he flew the green with his second shot. He made a gorgeous chip that stopped 3 feet from the hole, but couldn't get up-and-down when his par putt ricocheted off the back of the cup.
 
Bad break, but he got the stroke right back with a birdie on the par-5 No. 5.
 
'I recovered nicely throughout the back nine,' he said. 'Then, unfortunately, I just didn't have a great finish.'
 
And he wasn't blaming anybody but himself.
 
He said he misread putts on Nos. 8 and 9. On the ninth, he had less than 5 feet to the hole and thought the ball was going to go straight. It broke right instead, missing the cup by inches.
 
There was no time for sulking, though. He knows the only way he'll ever win a major is if he keeps giving himself chances.
 
'Under the conditions, 2 under would have been great; 70 is not a bad round,' he said. 'I just have to get out there (Friday), have another good round and get myself in good position.'
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.