Sergio Garcia hits NY dragging 0-for-39 baggage

By Associated PressJune 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' El Nino is no longer a little boy, even if he sometimes still behaves like one.
The Spaniard whose future once looked so promising is still chasing the first of what was expected to be a string of major championship wins, except now hes standing on the cusp of 30.
Thanks for reminding me, Sergio Garcia said to laughter Tuesday afternoon. Very close to 30 now.
A former NFL player once ridiculed potential as a French word meaning you havent done a damn thing yet. Apparently it translates into Spanish as well. Garcia, who turned pro 10 years ago, has won seven times on the PGA Tour and another 11 events worldwide. But with the U.S. Open just two days off, hes 0-for-39 in the tournaments that count most.
Thats what Im here for, to try to win it. If I didnt think it was possible, Garcia said, I would probably be back at home watching (TV) or something like that.
Garcia teased the golf world with a glimpse of how good he can be in the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah. Playing with a bravado that belied his years, he battled Tiger Woods shot for shot until Woods approach into the 18th green settled within two-putt range. Garcia played a starring role for Europe at the Ryder Cup two years after that, raising hopes for a rivalry that might extend until he and Woods, four years Garcias senior, had to watch their waistlines more closely than each other.
What followed instead was a litany of alibis, needless drama and self-inflicted wounds, beginning with the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.
The notoriously tough New York crowd ribbed Garcia mercilessly for wayward shots, constantly re-gripping his club before swinging ' Just hit it, waggle boy! became their chant ' and even for his choice of girlfriends, at the time, former tennis star Martina Hingis.
Garcia gave them plenty of fuel, at one memorable moment, with a middle-finger salute. Then Saturday, what started as a steady rain when Woods played in the morning became a steady downpour by afternoon. Moments after walking off the course, a waterlogged Garcia whimpered that if their tee times had been reversed, USGA officials would have protected Woods by postponing play.
As the backlash from those remarks gained steam, Garcia left a note of apology in Woods locker. Lot of good that did. Paired together for the final round, Woods staged a clinic on how to wrap up a major and won by a half-dozen strokes. People who claim you can learn more by losing didnt take Garcia into account. He lost plenty after that, becoming less gracious nearly every time it happened in a big four event.
The low point came at the British Open in 2007, when Padraig Harrington beat Garcia in a playoff and the Spaniard never once mentioned his rivals name in a lengthy interview afterward. What Garcia couldnt stop whining about, though, was all the forces that conspired against him.
Never mind that he started the day three shots clear of the field and could have won in regulation with a par 18.
It seems to me like every time I get in this kind of position, I have no room for error. I need to miss one shot, he said, and I rarely get many good breaks.
Its been noted that the guys who make their own breaks win majors, in part because they expend little time and energy cursing their luck, focusing instead on the things they can control. Asked whether his temperament helped or hurt his play, Garcia responded, I think as you get older, you learn from things youve done in the past, and you try to mature from those things.
I can change a little bit, he added, but not too much, because then I wouldnt be myself.
Its revealing that when Harrington was asked the same question about Garcias temperament, he responded, I would suggest Im probably the last person who could be considered neutral in that matter to give a comment.
Last year, Garcia could have made a good argument for staying the course. Using a belly putter, he finally won a big tournament, The Players Championship, two other tournaments overseas, posted a half-dozen Top 10 finishes and climbed to the No. 2 ranking in the world.
This year, he came to Doral in mid-March with a chance ' in Tigers absence ' to claim the top spot. He finished 31st that week, hasnt sniffed the Top 10 since and missed two cuts, including last week.
A couple of personal things happened, and that didnt help, Garcia said, apparently referring to his breakup with girlfriend Morgan-Leigh Norman, daughter of golfer Greg Norman.
Then obviously you lose a little bit of confidence, and its harder to recover from that. But the good thing is its moving forward, he said. Im looking forward to the challenges.
Hed better be. The clock is ticking.
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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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    Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

    Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.

    But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.

    Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.

    That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.

    A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.

    “Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.

    “Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.

    “And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.

    “So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

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    McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 5:47 pm

    After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.

    McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westage Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1 leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.

    Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:

    8/1: Tiger Woods

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose

    16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm

    18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson

    25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Alex Noren

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters

    80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay

    100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner

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    NBC Sports' Final Round Coverage of Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard Scores Highest-Rated Overnight at Event in Six Years

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 19, 2018, 5:42 pm

    Arnold Palmer Invitational and Valspar Championship Post Two Highest-Rated Final Round PGA TOUR Telecasts (Non-Majors) on Any Broadcast Network since the 2015 Wyndham Championship

    ORLANDO, Fla., March 19, 2018 – Record viewership of the PGA TOUR continued this weekend for NBC Sports Group at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Sunday’s final round coverage on NBC (2-6:45 p.m. ET) delivered a 3.6 overnight rating, +136% vs. 2017 and the highest-rated final round at this event in six years. Combined with last week’s final round viewership at the Valspar Championship (5.1 overnight rating) these rank as the two highest-rated final round PGA TOUR telecasts (non-majors) on any broadcast network since the 2015 Wyndham Championship. Golf Channel’s Sunday final-round lead-in coverage earned a .97 overnight rating, the highest at this event in five years. Across NBC and Golf Channel’s coverage, more than 12 million minutes were streamed, +683% vs. 2017.


    • Sunday’s final round coverage on NBC peaked to a 4.89 from 5:15-5:30 p.m. ET.
    • Golf Channel’s lead-in coverage peaked to a 1.24 from 1:30-2 p.m. ET.


    Saturday’s third round coverage earned a 2.29 overnight rating on NBC (2:30-6 p.m. ET), +92% vs. 2017 and the highest-rated at this event in five years. Golf Channel’s lead-in coverage (Noon-2:30 p.m. ET) earned a .95 overnight rating, +126% vs. 2017. Nearly 5.3 million minutes were streamed, +511% vs. 2017.


    Friday’s second-round coverage on Golf Channel generated a .81 overnight rating, +153% vs. 2017 and the second highest-rated early round at this event on Golf Channel (2007-2018), just slightly behind the 2012 second round (.84). More the 4.2 million minutes were streamed on Golf Channel Digital, +682% vs. 2017.


    Final numbers from Golf Channel’s opening round coverage on Thursday: .42 U.S. HH rating and 593,000 viewers, +56% vs. 2017 and the most-watched opening round at this event since 2011. More than 1.4 million minutes were streamed, +163% vs. 2017.


    Four of the top-20 players in the world, Jon Rahm (No. 3), Tommy Fleetwood (No. 11), Tyrrell Hatton (No. 16) and Pat Perez (No. 19) are scheduled to join the live World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Bracket Special tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. The 90-minute live primetime special will originate from Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas, and feature golf’s own version of a March bracket-style tournament selection format under the guidance of PGA TOUR competition officials.


    NBC Sports Group will feature nearly 35 live hours of tournament coverage from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Golf Channel will carry live coverage of round robin matches Wednesday-Friday, March 21-23. On Saturday, March 24, Golf Channel will provide coverage of the Round of 16, followed by the Quarterfinals matches airing on NBC. On Sunday, March 25, Golf Channel will showcase the Semifinals matches, followed by the Championship and Consolation matches airing on NBC.


    -NBC Sports Group-