Sergio Garcia hits NY dragging 0-for-39 baggage

By Associated PressJune 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' El Nino is no longer a little boy, even if he sometimes still behaves like one.
 
The Spaniard whose future once looked so promising is still chasing the first of what was expected to be a string of major championship wins, except now hes standing on the cusp of 30.
 
Thanks for reminding me, Sergio Garcia said to laughter Tuesday afternoon. Very close to 30 now.
 
A former NFL player once ridiculed potential as a French word meaning you havent done a damn thing yet. Apparently it translates into Spanish as well. Garcia, who turned pro 10 years ago, has won seven times on the PGA Tour and another 11 events worldwide. But with the U.S. Open just two days off, hes 0-for-39 in the tournaments that count most.
 
Thats what Im here for, to try to win it. If I didnt think it was possible, Garcia said, I would probably be back at home watching (TV) or something like that.
 
Garcia teased the golf world with a glimpse of how good he can be in the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah. Playing with a bravado that belied his years, he battled Tiger Woods shot for shot until Woods approach into the 18th green settled within two-putt range. Garcia played a starring role for Europe at the Ryder Cup two years after that, raising hopes for a rivalry that might extend until he and Woods, four years Garcias senior, had to watch their waistlines more closely than each other.
 
What followed instead was a litany of alibis, needless drama and self-inflicted wounds, beginning with the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.
 
The notoriously tough New York crowd ribbed Garcia mercilessly for wayward shots, constantly re-gripping his club before swinging ' Just hit it, waggle boy! became their chant ' and even for his choice of girlfriends, at the time, former tennis star Martina Hingis.
 
Garcia gave them plenty of fuel, at one memorable moment, with a middle-finger salute. Then Saturday, what started as a steady rain when Woods played in the morning became a steady downpour by afternoon. Moments after walking off the course, a waterlogged Garcia whimpered that if their tee times had been reversed, USGA officials would have protected Woods by postponing play.
 
As the backlash from those remarks gained steam, Garcia left a note of apology in Woods locker. Lot of good that did. Paired together for the final round, Woods staged a clinic on how to wrap up a major and won by a half-dozen strokes. People who claim you can learn more by losing didnt take Garcia into account. He lost plenty after that, becoming less gracious nearly every time it happened in a big four event.
 
The low point came at the British Open in 2007, when Padraig Harrington beat Garcia in a playoff and the Spaniard never once mentioned his rivals name in a lengthy interview afterward. What Garcia couldnt stop whining about, though, was all the forces that conspired against him.
 
Never mind that he started the day three shots clear of the field and could have won in regulation with a par 18.
 
It seems to me like every time I get in this kind of position, I have no room for error. I need to miss one shot, he said, and I rarely get many good breaks.
 
Its been noted that the guys who make their own breaks win majors, in part because they expend little time and energy cursing their luck, focusing instead on the things they can control. Asked whether his temperament helped or hurt his play, Garcia responded, I think as you get older, you learn from things youve done in the past, and you try to mature from those things.
 
I can change a little bit, he added, but not too much, because then I wouldnt be myself.
 
Its revealing that when Harrington was asked the same question about Garcias temperament, he responded, I would suggest Im probably the last person who could be considered neutral in that matter to give a comment.
 
Last year, Garcia could have made a good argument for staying the course. Using a belly putter, he finally won a big tournament, The Players Championship, two other tournaments overseas, posted a half-dozen Top 10 finishes and climbed to the No. 2 ranking in the world.
 
This year, he came to Doral in mid-March with a chance ' in Tigers absence ' to claim the top spot. He finished 31st that week, hasnt sniffed the Top 10 since and missed two cuts, including last week.
 
A couple of personal things happened, and that didnt help, Garcia said, apparently referring to his breakup with girlfriend Morgan-Leigh Norman, daughter of golfer Greg Norman.
 
Then obviously you lose a little bit of confidence, and its harder to recover from that. But the good thing is its moving forward, he said. Im looking forward to the challenges.
 
Hed better be. The clock is ticking.
 
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    U.S. captures Junior Ryder Cup

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 26, 2018, 12:29 am

    The U.S. defeated Europe, 12 ½ to 11 ½, in the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland at Disneyland Paris.

    Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., clinched the winning half-point on the 18th hole with a 12-foot birdie putt that halved her match with Annabell Fuller, 16, of England.

    "It was the most incredible experience of my life," said Heck, a Stanford commit who last week made the cut in her second LPGA major, the Evian Masters.

    Michael Thorbjornsen, 16, of Wellesley, Mass., the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, drove the green on the 315-yard 18th hole, the ball stopping within 5 feet of the pin. His eagle putt completed 2-up win over 15-year-old Spaniard David Puig and ensured that the U.S. would retain the Junior Ryder Cup, as the defending champion needs only a tie (12 points) to maintain possession of the trophy.

    Singles results

    Match 1 - Lucy Li (USA) def. Amanda Linner (EUR), 4 and 3

    Match 2 — Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) def. William Moll (USA), 1 up

    Match 3 —  Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) halved Rose Zhang (USA)

    Match 4 – Nicolai Hojgaard (USA) def. Canon Claycomb (USA), 4 and 2

    Match 5 — Yealimi Noh (USA) def. Emma Spitz (EUR), 3 and 2

    Match 6 —  Ricky Castillo (USA) def. Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR), 3 and 1

    Match 7 – Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri (EUR) def. Erica Shepherd (USA), 2 up

    Match 8 — Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) def. David Puig (EUR), 2 up

    Match 9 – Alessia Nobilio (EUR) def. Alexa Pano (USA), 2 and 1

    Match 10 —  Robin Tiger Williams (EUR) def. Cole Ponich (USA), 2 and 1

    Match 11 – Annabell Fuller (EUR) halved Rachel Heck (USA)

    Match 12 — Conor Gough (EUR) def. Akshay Bhatia (USA), 1 up

     

    TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).

    Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).

    Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

    Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.

     This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.

     

    -NBC Sports Group-

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    Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
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    Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.

    He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.

    The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.

    He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.

    “I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.

    It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.

    For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.


    Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.

    In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.

    Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.

    For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.

    “You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”

    But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.

    “At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”

    In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.

    His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

    As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.

    “We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.

    “Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.

    It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.

    Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.

    “Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”

    If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.

    Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.

    Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.