Nightmarish start for Sergio after mixed greeting


ARDMORE, Pa. – Sergio Garcia is off to a nightmarish start Thursday at the U.S. Open.

At the 14th tee, Garcia pulled his tee shot out of bounds and made double bogey. That was his fourth hole of the day. At the 15th tee, he pulled his tee shot over a road and onto a hospitality tent about 30 yards left of OB. After re-teeing, he dumped his approach into a greenside bunker and then skulled his bunker shot over the green. He couldn’t get up and down from there and made a quadruple-bogey 8.

Garcia was 6 over through his first six holes.

After Garcia’s practice round Tuesday, fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal said Garcia was still struggling emotionally over the tumult caused three weeks earlier by Garcia’s “fried chicken” crack about Tiger Woods.

So what kind of reception did Garcia get at Merion for Thursday’s start of the U.S. Open?

If you were wondering, he got a polite smattering of applause when he was introduced before beginning his round at the 11th tee and one, lone boo from somewhere in the back of the large grandstand there.

Garcia three-putted the 11th to start his round with a bogey, made a routine par at the 12th and elicited a huge roar sticking his approach at the 13th to a foot to set up birdie. He received numerous shouts of encouragement making his way through a tight gauntlet of spectators on his way to the 13th tee.

After blowing his tee shot OB at the 14th, Garcia marched through the galleries to find his first ball, nestled up against a hedge. He tossed it to a boy as a keepsake. The horn blew stopping play moments after.

The weather delay obviously didn’t help Garcia.