Seven shots behind Rory, at least Sergio's happy


HOYLAKE, England – Sergio Garcia seems to be in a happy place this week.

This is newsworthy because there have been so many times over his career where major championships were not his friend. He’s belittled golf courses, he’s spouted off about the golf gods' plan to conspire against him, and he’s been downright petulant at times. His career major championship haul remains stuck at zero.

Perhaps that’ll change sometime soon. Garcia, just as he has been for most of this year, is as happy-go-lucky as he can be at the British Open. He’s tied for third place, seven shots behind Rory McIlroy, and he continues to have a pep in his step.

“I feel quite good with the way I’ve been playing and with the way I’ve kind of been handling myself throughout the week,” said Garcia, who has been seen with lady friend Katharina Boehn at Tour stops for much of this year. “Hopefully I’ll be able to do it again for another day and see where I finish.”

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Garcia, 34, has more of an affinity for the British Open than any of the other three majors. In 17 previous appearances he’s finished inside the top 10 seven times, more than at any other major. He got heat for wearing that awful canary yellow outfit at the 2006 Open here at Royal Liverpool, then lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington the next year at Carnoustie, which remains his closest call yet in a major.

Last month at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, Garcia appeared to be on his way to victory. But Kevin Streelman birdied the last seven holes in a row to claim the crown by a shot over Garcia and K.J. Choi. Garcia was more impressed than miffed.

This week, even though Garcia is well behind McIlroy, he’s not worked up. He applauds McIlroy for his performance.

“Something like that, the only thing you can do is say, 'Well done,'” Garcia said. “At the end of the day we’re all doing our best. And if somebody is better than you, you can’t ask yourself for anything else.

“If you’re disappointed at somebody making birdies and eagles, then you’re not a good sportsman. Like what happened to me at the Hartford, when Kevin Streelman made seven birdies in a row. What you do is go there and say, ‘Well done.’ He deserves to win when he does that.”