Garcia Needs to Learn How to Lose - Graciously
Garcia is only 27 and blessed with enormous talent, and it would be foolish to think he will never win a major.
But that's not his problem.
He first has to learn how to lose.
It might help to listen to Gary Player talk about his favorite subject this side of steroids. Player rarely gets through a dinner speech without taking a crack at longtime friend Jack Nicklaus, referring to him as golf's greatest champion -- and greatest loser.
Part of that is the record times Nicklaus finished second in the majors, and part of that is the graciousness Nicklaus invariably showed when someone beat him, whether it was Tom Watson at Turnberry or Lee Trevino at Merion.
That is sadly lacking with Garcia.
As much courage as Padraig Harrington showed Sunday at Carnoustie in winning the British Open, Garcia showed as little class when he pointed the finger in every direction but himself.
'I should write a book on how to not miss a shot in the playoff and shoot 1 over,' Garcia said.
Guess that means he was trying to hit that approach in the bunker on the first playoff hole, leading to a bogey that put him two shots behind when Harrington made birdie from 8 feet. And if he didn't miss a shot, why was he screaming so much at his golf ball?
Look at all his bad luck.
There was the ball that struck the base of the pin on the 16th hole in the playoff and caromed 18 feet away. No telling how far the ball would have gone by the hole had it missed the pin. He had to wait too long in the 18th fairway as the bunkers were raked, a delay that began when Harrington twice hit into the Barry Burn.
There were conspiracies everywhere, and this being a links course, no shortage of grassy knolls.
'I guess it's not news in my life,' Garcia said, who surely sees himself as the most cursed man who ever played the game.
No, this is nothing new.
Garcia has been pouting since he was a teenager, and his rant at Carnoustie was only the latest in a growing list.
-- 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.
Tiger Woods played in the morning and shot 68, the only round under par among early starters. The cold rain got worse, and Garcia felt there was too much water on the greens and in the fairway late in the day. He shot 74 and fumed at the USGA for not stopping play.
'If Tiger Woods would have been out there, it would been called,' Garcia said. 'It wasn't easy this morning, but it was almost impossible this afternoon. It's tough to beat a buy when ... he gets breaks and makes putt.'
-- 2001 Greg Norman Holden International in Sydney.
Garcia had a two-shot lead when his opening tee shot in the third round stopped next to a pine cone, and he was entitled to relief because a billboard was in his line of sight. But the drop was incorrect, and European Tour chief referee John Paramor had no choice but to assess a two-shot penalty.
'Hopefully, without John Paramor's rules, I'll be able to win,' Garcia said.
He didn't win because Aaron Baddeley made a 20-foot birdie putt in the playoff, after Garcia missed from inside that distance on the final two holes of regulation. Surely, that had nothing to do with the outcome.
-- 2004 Masters.
Garcia shot a 31 on the back nine for a 66 that moved him up to fourth place, still his best finish at Augusta National. He used his occasion to rant about how the press only pays attention to him when he's doing well.
'When we're playing well, we're the best, and even when we're playing well and things are not going our way, we can be shocking,' he said. 'So it's nice to see how fair you guys are.'
-- 2007 British Open at Carnoustie.
Much ground has been covered already, but the most staggering statement from Garcia was how the golfing gods were out to get him, and him alone. 'I'm playing against a lot of guys out there, more than the field,' he said.
Was he watching in 1999 when Jean Van de Velde's second shot to the 18th ricocheted off a tiny railing on the grandstand and back across Barry Burn? Wasn't he at Torrey Pines in 2005 when Charles Howell III hit a shot that landed in the cup for eagle, only to bounce out and into the water? That turned eagle into bogey, and Howell finished three shots behind.
'Crazy game,' Howell said that day, leaving out any mention of conspiracy.
-- 2007 CA Championship at Doral.
Garcia was so disgusted by a three-putt in the third round that when he retrieved his ball, he spit into the cup a gob of saliva easily picked up by television. Beyond disgusting, it was rude to the guys playing in the groups behind him.
'Don't worry. It did go in the middle (of the cup) and wasn't going to affect anyone else,' Garcia told NBC Sports.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem was in Miami that week, and he was either looking the other way or not paying attention when he suggested the spitting incident was a 'one-off' for Garcia. This has been going on since Garcia was 19, and he threw a shoe that nearly hit a rules official at the World Match Play Championship.
Garcia would do well to try to emulate Nicklaus, described by his friend as the greatest champion and greatest loser.
Because right now, Garcia is neither.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend
After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.
The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.
Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.
“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.
In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.
“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”
The Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement or the end to the lawsuit.
Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.
“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”
PGA Tour Latinoamerica moving season finale to Doral
PGA Tour Latinoamerica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.
The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.
“We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamerica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.
The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed and as then-candidate Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.
"We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf," then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.
The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.
The Latinoamerica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.
PGA Tour Latinoamerica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.
A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.
Im wins Web.com Player and Rookie of the Year awards
Sungjae Im on Thursday was named the Web.com Tour's 2018 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.
Im won twice on the Web.com this year, taking the season opener in January, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, and the season finale in August, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, to become the first player in history lead the circuit's money list wire-to-wire.
Im is the first Korean-born player to win the Web's POY award and, at 20 years old, its youngest recipient.
In a player vote, Im bested Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer, 2018's only other two-time winner, for POY honors, and Burns, Hickock, Trainer and Cameron Champ for ROY honors.
“My first year on the Web.com Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Web.com Tour before making it to the PGA Tour, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA Tour season on a good note.”
In his first PGA Tour start, Im tied for fourth at the Safeway Open, earning $241,280, a little less than half of the $534,326 he amassed in 25 starts as the Web's regular-season money winner.
Playing this week's CJ Cup in his native South Korea, Im opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday.
Former DJ advisor found guilty in embezzlement case
A federal jury has found Nathan Hardwick, a former advisor to Dustin Johnson, guilty of embezzling $26 million in funds from his now-bankrupt real estate closing firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.
Per Golf.com, citing Law.com, a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick of "one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks."
As for where exactly the money went, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, once again citing Law.com, has the details:
"The alleged spending included $18.47 million on gambling, private jet travel and women from 2011 through August 2014. The prosecution submitted two binders of documentation as evidence that Hardwick spent $4.39 million on “female social companions,” including one testifying witness who claimed to have met him through SugarDaddy.com."
"Other alleged expenditures described in testimony include more than $7 million at casinos, more than $3 million with a bookie, $680,000 for a luxury condo at The St. Regis Atlanta, $273,000 on a diamond ring, $186,000 on a deposit for a party on a private island, and $635,000 on a trip to the 2014 British Open for golfing buddies that included a customized jet and round at St. Andrews."
Johnson in 2014 sued Morris Hardwick Schneider over a $3 million loan he believed to be an investment. Instead, Johnson argued, the money was going to make up for shortages created by Hardwick's embezzlement. Johnson later amended his suit to argue that Hardwick, who previously served on the board of the Dustin Johnson Foundation, was being used as a "pawn" by the firm's other partners.
That suit was settled in 2016 for $2 million.