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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    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.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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