Cats Away Can Sergio Play

By John HawkinsFebruary 24, 2010, 12:31 am
After chipping in from behind the second green to square his semifinal match against Ian Poulter last Saturday, Sergio Garcia scurried for the cover of a waiting umbrella, his body language reflective of a man uninspired by the idea of playing 16 more holes in a howling wind and driving rain. I immediately text-messaged a friend to tell him Sergio wouldn't be making it to the 15th tee, not against a bulldog like Poulter, whose spiky hair and mauve trousers barely disguise his reputation as a Brit with grit and not an ounce of quit.
Sergio Garcia
Can Sergio Garcia shine like those bright-colored shirts he wears? (Getty Images)
Now I'm no genius, but I do know a foul-weathered fatalist when I see one, and this wasn't a fair fight. Poulter laid a 7-and-6 thrashing on a guy who seems to get softer by the year, whose career has become increasingly defined by shortcomings instead of accomplishments. Garcia has one PGA Tour victory in the last 4½ years. That triumph, at the 2008 Players Championship, was supposed to mark the arrival of the new Sergio – more mature, more composure down the stretch, less speculation whether he'll ever become the player we swore he'd be.

Garcia turned 30 last month, and by this point, I'd have figured pro golf would have its own version of Shaun White: a happy-go-lucky superstar with lots of trophies, a ton of moxie and a brand of transcendent charisma we'll never get from the Dude in the Red Shirt. Alas, Garcia's mainstream impact has been limited to a couple of beer commercials. Majorless? These days, I'd settle for a victory at The Honda Classic.

You can follow the trail of breadcrumbs to the Land of Broken Promise, but golf is a game of hope, and for Garcia, tomorrow is his best friend. In Arizona last week, his putting stroke looked more fluid and confident than I've seen it in years. With his prime antagonist on the shelf indefinitely, it's worth nothing that Sergio's longest stretch of premium golf occurred while Tiger Woods dealt with knee issues in the spring/summer of '08.

Once again, the cat's away, leaving both mice and men to play. Forever preoccupied with Woods' greatness, it's uncanny how Garcia seems to take advantage of Tiger's absence. At the 2007 British Open – the last time Sir Eldrick started a major but failed to contend – the Claret Jug was Sergio's to win, but he wobbled late and lost to Padraig Harrington in a playoff.

Not 15 minutes later, a grief-stricken, blame-stickin' Garcia filled the media center with ill-conceived excuses. As if the golf gods didn't have better things to do.
John Hawkins appears on Golf Central every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and on the Grey Goose 19th Hole every Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

It was deja voodoo at the '08 PGA, another Woods-free zone, where Paddy beat El Nino with some clutch play down the homestretch and a couple of donations from the Spaniard. In a not-so-weird way, it's easy to see why Sergio would retain his Tiger fetish. He's the one who pushed TW to the edge at the 1999 PGA, his first whiff of the hunt at a major.

He was the first of the post-Woods phenoms, still the most heralded of the bunch, which is probably why Tiger started dominating just as Garcia was arriving at his doorstep. At the turn of the millennium, David Duval was the best player in the world, regardless of what the world ranking tells you now, with Woods needing 2½ years just to claim his second major.

It will take Garcia more than a decade to claim his first, a drought no one could have possibly foreseen, but Phil Mickelson didn't claim his first big title until the age of 34 – everybody used to wonder when his day would come. If Woods has a few things to work on away from the golf course, Garcia's ability to reach the next level also depends largely on his willingness to shake hands with reality.

A more focused commitment to golf, a stronger work regimen – you're not going to beat guys like Woods and Harrington with a reliable driver and a handful of excuses. Not yesterday, not today, and in all likelihood, not tomorrow.
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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.