Garcia's bogey-free 66 gives him share of Masters lead

By Randall MellApril 12, 2013, 1:02 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Who rages against the golf gods in major championships more than Sergio Garcia?

The man has practically shaken his fist at the heavens and cursed.

Nobody in this generation of players has experienced more tumult in majors without claiming the ultimate prize.

So here we go again, once more, into the breach for Garcia at the Masters.

With a brilliant opening round of 6-under-par 66, Garcia seized a share of the lead at Augusta National. It’s notable he fashioned this bogey-free round just a year after this place appeared to break him. This is the major that has most confounded him. This is where his frustration left him muttering in resignation that he lacked what it takes to win a major.

“I’m not good enough,” Garcia said after a third-round 75 last year knocked him out of contention. “I don’t have the thing I need to have. The conclusion is I need to play for second or third place.”

So what does Garcia do Thursday? He challenges the golf gods. He takes a share of the lead, something he has never held at the end of any round in his previous 48 rounds at the Masters.

So what’s going on here?

Is Garcia, 33, being set up for more major championship heartbreak?

Or is he on his way to scripting one of the great major championship breakthroughs this sport has ever seen?

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Garcia understands it’s just the first round, but his history here is so tumultuous, it is just plain strange seeing his name atop the leaderboard, regardless of the round.

“Obviously, it’s not my most favorite place,” Garcia said after signing his scorecard. “But, you know, we try to enjoy it as much as we can each time we come here. Sometimes, it comes out better than others, but today, it was one of those good days. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.”

While it lasts? The remark sounds like an echo from last year’s despairing rant, but Garcia says that isn’t so. A year removed, he put some new perspective to his words.

“Those were my words,” Garcia said. “But no, I think that at the end of the day, we go through moments, tough moments, and I know it was one of them. Obviously, maybe I didn't say it the right way, because it was one of those frustrating moments. What I felt is that I definitely kind of shot myself out of the tournament last year, and that's what I did, on that Saturday. So I wasn't wrong there.

“But every time I tee off, I try to play as well as I can, hope that my best that week is really, really good, and if I manage to do that, I will have a chance at winning. If my best is not that good, then, you know, I'll struggle a little bit.

“Today, my best was pretty good, and I'm looking forward to doing the same thing the next three days. It will be really nice.”

Garcia’s irritation with Augusta National’s mercurial nature came out four years ago, too.

After closing with a 74 that year and tying for 38th, Garcia complained the course was too difficult.

“I don't like it, to tell you the truth,” he said. “I don't think it's fair, and it's just too tricky. Even when it's dry, you still get mud balls in the middle of the fairway. It's just too much of a guessing game.”

Garcia is a fiery player. Sometimes, his emotions get the best of him. Other times, his emotions pull the best out of him. That’s the thing with Garcia. If you could surgically separate the feisty, callow elements of his nature, he might not be the same player. What sometimes turns us off may be what turns his game on.

Adam Scott played alongside Garcia Thursday at Augusta National. They’ve known each other a long time, and Scott doesn’t think Garcia is playing for second place.

“I mean, it's a reaction to frustration and disappointment of a poor week,” Scott said. “He wears his heart on his sleeve, and I'm sure that's how he felt at the time he said it. So, I think it's a bit of a throw-away line. I don't think he's living by that at all.”

Garcia has won 24 professional events around the world, eight times on the PGA Tour, but he is 0-for-57 in major championships.

When Garcia, as a 19-year-old sensation, made a final-round charge at Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship at Medinah, he was heaped with great expectations. That would lead to great frustrations. Three times, he has been runner-up in a major, including that playoff loss to Padraig Harrington in the ’07 British Open.

Garcia seemed to be mired in a crisis of confidence during last year’s Masters.

“We all go through those moments,” Garcia said. “The beauty and the bad thing about this game is that, that it can have such highs and such lows, because it's a lot more mental than some of the other games.  So you know, the most important thing is to make sure that you get through those nicely and learn from them.”

Garcia would like to show he has learned to win a major from them.

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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.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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