Today, he hasnt been able to duplicate that memorable week at the start of the year. A ninth-place finish last week at Bay Hill, however, means things are looking up of the eve of the Players Championship.
Most of the blame has been placed on his rather balky putter of late. He says, however, that the key to this week might be his driver.
You have to drive it well here, that is the key, said Garcia. If you dont, coming out of the rough if you save par, youre a happy man. Most of the times youre not even going to be able to do that. So its really important to drive it well.
The Players Championship begins Thursday with the field chasing that man Tiger, who got his first win of the season at Bay Hill last week. Woods tees off at 12:30 p.m. ET Thursday and 7:40 a.m. ET Friday alongside Hal Sutton and Fred Funk.
Garcia feels as if hes playing somewhere else because of the tight fairways and quick greens ' the U.S. Open, he said.
Theres no doubt because of the narrow fairways, high rough and really firm greens. It fits just in the U.S. Open type of course.
Garcia turned pro at the young age of 19 following an amateur career of wins all over the globe. He is starting his fourth full season as a professional at an age when most golfers are just starting their pro career. The added years have meant a bonanza of things Garcia has learned in his time playing professionally.
One thing is for sure: I know now things that I didnt know before, Garcia said. So Im a lot smarter on the golf course, my game plan is a lot better. Thats why I usually make less mistakes than what I used to.
You know, thats what its all about, just gaining experience and confidence, and thats what Ive been doing for the last three or four years.
So even though hes just 22 with less than four years experience as a pro, he feels like a 10-year veteran. And even though hes only tied for 50th and missed the cut in two previous trips to this tournament, he feels like he can win here.
Of course, its a tough week, and youve got to realize that, said Garcia. But its not any different from any other week. The course plays tougher, and the scores, they are going to be higher, but youve just got to realize that and just go with it.
Yeah, Ive won before, so this year may be different.
Check out this week's field