Same Ol Story Garcia Again Comes Up Lame

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Sergio Garcia watched the ball drop into the cup -- finally! -- and thrust both arms skyward.
 
Unfortunately for the fiery Spaniard, his birdie at the 12th hole came far too late to make any difference.
 
By then, he was just the guy with a really good view of Tiger Woods on the way to another British Open title.
 
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia could do little except watch playing partner Tiger Woods roll to his 11 major title.
Garcia's hopes of winning his first major championship were crushed Sunday before he even got to the back nine at Royal Liverpool. A couple of three-putt bogeys to get things started. A pair of errant iron shots leading to two more bogeys.
 
He made the turn at 4 over and with no chance of catching Woods,
 
'It's a shame,' Garcia said. 'That's the way it goes sometimes.'
 
It usually goes like that for Garcia, who has yet to win a major despite enormous talent that was all too apparent when, as a 19-year-old, he finished one stroke behind Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship.
 
No one figured he'd still be without a title seven years later. But a shaky putter -- there are already whispers around the clubhouse that he's got a bad case of the yips -- was all too apparent as he squandered what may have been his best chance yet.
 
Garcia was coming off a 7-under 65 Saturday that left him one stroke off the lead and put him in the final group with Woods. He showed up in a bright yellow outfit -- 'here comes the banana,' one fan said mockingly -- that was a striking contrast to Woods' usual Sunday red.
 
Right away, it was clear this wasn't going to be Garcia's day. At No. 1, he left his first putt short of the cup and needed a testy 5-footer just to save par. Things got worse at the next two holes, where Garcia missed from 6 and 4 feet for back-to-back bogeys.
 
Suddenly, he was three strokes behind the greatest closer in golf, his shoulders slumping as he sensed another chance slipping away.
 
Garcia did make a couple of birdies on the back side and rolled in an eagle putt at No. 16 to finish at 73. His 11-under 277 was seven strokes behind Woods in a tie for fifth.
 
'I had a couple of three-putts to start with when I thought I hit good putts,' Garcia said. 'Unfortunately, they didn't go in. And nothing seemed to go my way. I hit a pretty good drive on 5 and it just goes in the bunker. From then on, it was a little uphill.'
 
Garcia missed the green to the right with his approach at No. 8 and couldn't get up and down. Ditto at the ninth, where he put his second shot into a pot bunker along the front right side of the green and watched another par-saving putt slide wide of the cup.
 
'At least I came back nicely, and that's important,' Garcia said. 'I'm a bit sad but not disappointed.'
 
He called it an encouraging performance since this year has been a bit of a struggle. He insisted that his play Sunday was lot better than his score. But those both sounded like convenient rationalizations to mask his disappointment.
 
'I take a lot of positive things from this tournament,' Garcia insisted. 'I felt really good this week. Today, I had so many good putts. I can't even count how many good putts I hit that didn't want to go in. They just slipped out, or over the edge, a huge lip out at 14.
 
'That's the way it is. Just keep working.'
 
Maybe it's time to work on a different approach. Garcia played in the last group with Woods at Torrey Pines earlier this year, shot 40 on the front side and wound up in a tie for eighth. With much more on the line, this one had a similar feel.
 
Garcia insisted that he wasn't intimidated by the world's No. 1 golfer.
 
'I guess you can say it's a little bit difficult, but I felt calm today,' he said. 'I probably felt the best I've ever felt in a major with my putting. He just played very solid and stuck to his game plan. He putted lights out. When you putt that well on these difficult greens, you can't do anything.'
 
While both Garcia and Woods repeatedly admonished camera-clicking fans, the Spaniard had no complaints at the end.
 
'It was an unbelievable crowd,' Garcia said. 'I was getting bigger cheers than Tiger at some of the holes, and that was amazing for me to experience. That's why this is my favorite event.'
 
But, as they walked off the green at 18, it was Woods holding the claret jug.
 
All Garcia could do was ponder his next chance to win a major, which comes next month in the PGA Championship -- the same tournament and same course where he almost won seven years ago, thrilling fans with his youthful exuberance and naive bravado.
 
'I'm happy, because if you had told me I was going to play this well here about two months ago, I probably would have said you were a bit crazy.' he said. 'I'm looking forward to Medinah -- and now even more because I feel my game is coming along.'
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
     
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  • Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

    By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

    At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

    Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

    In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


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    Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

    Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

    Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

    ''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

    ''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

    Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

    ''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

    ''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

    Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

    Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

    ''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

    Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

    Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

    ''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

    The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

    ''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

    The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

    ''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

    Joel Dahmen had a 64.


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    ''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

    ''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

    ''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

    ''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

    Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

    ''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

    Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

    Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

    Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

    Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

    Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

    Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

    “At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

    Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.


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    With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

    “I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

    Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

    Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

    “As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

    Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

    Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

    Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

    Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

    Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.


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    Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

    There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

    “I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

    Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

    The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.