Sergio Hoping Luck on His Side at PGA

By Associated PressAugust 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Rarely has a second-place finisher sounded like as big a loser as Sergio Garcia did after the British Open.
Three weeks later, and with another shot at a major coming up, Garcia said he wouldn't have changed a thing.
Well, maybe one thing.
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia practices Wednesday in effort to win his first major championship. (Getty Images)
'I would have tried to hit that putt on 18 a little bit further out,' he said Wednesday, on the eve of the PGA Championship.
Concerning his post-Carnoustie comments, in which he elevated his bad luck to Shakespearean proportions, insisting nobody gets as many bad breaks as he does ... well, for that, he has no regrets.
'Yeah, I was emotional,' he said. 'I opened myself up to you guys, and I said what I felt. That's pretty much it.'
Several times Wednesday, Garcia gave Padraig Harrington the credit he duly deserves for winning the British Open, a sentiment that was sorely missing in the heat of the moment at Carnoustie.
Harrington's win, of course, left one fewer person to vie with Garcia for the title of Best Player to Never Win a Major.
Sergio burst onto the scene in 1999 as 'El Nino,' a brash teenager expected to be Tiger's next great challenger. But each year, the magical moment at that PGA -- the tree root, the sprint up the fairway at Medinah, the second-place finish filled with so much potential -- fades further into memory.
'It's a different situation,' Garcia said when asked if he used 1999 as positive reinforcement coming into this week. 'I didn't win the British Open. Padraig did, and he deserved it. He played very, very well all week. But I was the only one who had the winning putt in regulation. And to me, you know, that means a lot.'
If that putt slides an inch to the right, it's Garcia playing alongside first-time major winners Zach Johnson and Angel Cabrera in Thursday's opening round at Southern Hills and Harrington answering questions about how he manages to move on.
Instead, Garcia has fallen to 0-for-33 in the majors, a stat that, fair or not, carries more weight than his 14-4-2 Ryder Cup record. And it's Garcia who now plays the still-waiting-for-a-major role that once belonged to Phil Mickelson -- except in many minds, Garcia doesn't play it with nearly as much charm.
On Tuesday, Mickelson talked about how the hardest part of not winning a major was answering all the questions, trying to be open and honest and not sound like an idiot relating the deep-down feeling that he was sure his day would come soon.
'No matter which way you went with it, it was always going to come back to bite you,' Mickelson said.
Garcia tried to be open and honest after Carnoustie, but it was merely translated as self-pitying and lame.
Many feel he sacrificed his chance for empathy a long time ago.
He made few fans during his annoying bout of constant club waggling that stymied his game earlier this decade. His behavior at Bethpage during the 2002 U.S. Open, when he complained about the conditions, so-called preferential treatment for Tiger Woods and made an obscene gesture toward fans who were heckling him, may have been a turning point in the way many view him. Earlier this year, he spit in the cup after three-putting at the CA Championship at Doral, a gesture that couldn't be construed as anything but classless.
He was in the last group with Tiger at Bethpage, though he never had much of a chance. Last year, he played with Tiger again on Sunday at the British Open, but wilted quickly and finished fifth -- the most memorable thing about that round being the garish banana-yellow outfit he wore.
Now, Carnoustie. To get over his latest heartbreak, Garcia played a little tennis, went to the beach, hung out with friends.
'And then I started practicing,' he said. 'I think it was on Thursday, trying to get ready for Bridgestone last week.'
Harrington told of running into Garcia in the parking lot during last week's tournament. Both men were getting into their cars, so there wasn't a real opportunity to chat.
'It was very odd,' Harrington said.
He said that, sure, it would have been difficult for him to rebound had he lost the British, especially considering the double-bogey he posted on the 18th hole to put Garcia in position to win.
Garcia could have won, probably should have won. But then came the long wait -- five to 15 minutes depending on whom you talk to -- for his second shot on the 18th fairway. That led to an approach shot into a bunker. And that led to a 10-foot putt to win, one he struck well, but that just didn't go in.
He lost the playoff to Harrington by one stroke.
'I don't know. I should write a book on how to not miss a shot in the playoff and shoot 1-over,' Garcia said afterward. 'It's the way it is. I guess it's not news in my life.'
Open and honest? Or whiny and pathetic?
On Wednesday, he took a little bit different view of his bad breaks. He was focusing on the positives from that deflating day.
'That's the beauty of the game. That's what we play for,' he said. 'But you know, the guy that finishes second is always the first loser, I guess, so it's hard sometimes.'
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.