Deconstructing Sergio

By Brian HewittAugust 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipSergio Garcia is alive and well ... well ... lets just leave it at that: Sergio Garcia is alive.
 
Last month at the Open Championship Garcia did everything but win at Carnoustie. In the press conference that followed his playoff loss to Padraig Harrington, he did everything but behave like a sportsman.
 
The worlds golfing press pilloried Garcia for his petulance. In response, Garcias handlers were livid with what they believed was unfair treatment of a high-spirited competitor who was still smarting, in the heat of the moment, from a bitterly-disappointing loss.
 
For his part, Garcia went mostly dark in the following weeks, choosing to explain very little about Carnoustie and its immediate aftermath.
 
So there was a palpable air of anticipation Wednesday at Southern Hills on the eve of the 89th PGA Championship when Garcia met the pens-and-lenses crowd head-on in a packed media center.
 
Would there be a Carnoustie autopsy? Would there be a public dissection? Would there be an apology? Would the scars show in the plain light of day?
 
The answers, in order, were no, no, no and not really.
 
The closest Garcia came to exposing nerves that might still be raw came when a reporter asked if, given a do-over, he would have couched things differently after the loss at Carnoustie--where, among other things--he suggested he gets more bad breaks than other players.
 
Specifically, the questioner asked Garcia if he regretted his comments. Yeah, I was emotional, Garcia replied. I opened myself up to you guys and I said what I felt. Thats pretty much it.
 
And that was pretty much it for a media appearance that lasted 15 minutes and felt like five. Garcias answers were not unresponsive. But there was little in the way of elaboration. And there wasnt a whiff of the effusiveness we have come to expect from Garcia in good times.
 
The opinion here is that Garcia is scarred by Carnoustie but the damage will not be permanent. The opinion here also is that Garcia probably learned more about himself on the course at Carnoustie than he did about himself off the course.
 
It all comes back, in this instance, to that hoary old chestnut about the guy who said, Show me a good loser, and Ill show you a loser. To which the response always should have been: Show me a bad loser, and Ill show you a loser, too.
 
So which would you rather be? Which would you rather teach your children to be? The answer is patently obvious.
 
Meanwhile, back at Planet Sergio, he also said Wednesday that it wasnt easy the first week after, a couple of days after (Carnoustie). But, no, you get over it.
 
I think overall it was a great experience to be up in the lead all week long, Garcia added. I was the only one that had the winning putt in regulation.
 
But he missed the putt and, at the time, missed the point. I hope that I have the winning putt here again, he said. And, you know, whatever happens, at least if Im in that position, Ill be pretty happy with it.
 
The first instinct is to like Sergio. His own instincts are playful. His smile is infectious. His style is captivating. But his choices arent always the best. Like the time he threw a shoe into the gallery after slipping on the 15th tee at Wentworth in an important match he lost to Retief Goosen. Or the time he spit into a cup at Doral during a round. Or his press conference at Carnoustie.
 
He says winning a major is just a matter of time. And his talent says the same thing. We can only hope his ultimate maturation is also just a matter of time. He comes from a close-knit, grounded family. And that will work in his favor.
 
Finally theres this: Sergio Garcia tied for 12th at the U.S. Open when they played the U.S. Open here in 2001. golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. said Wednesday afternoon that the best all-around driver of the golf ball will have a huge advantage at Southern Hills this week. Many people believe Garcia is the best all-around driver of the golf ball in the world.
 
So stick around. If Garcia wins his first major Sunday, his post-round press conference will be a must see and a must hear.
 
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.