He took the podium at the Deutsche Bank Players Championship in Germany this week to explain his latest pratfall. Sergio gets upset at us for always asking about such untidy messes as another botch job at the British Open. But its only because he is a man of such enormous potential, and yet such a paucity of majors (zero).
I felt very good last week, he said about the Open experience, the best Ive felt probably all year. So Im very happy about that.
He had worked himself up to the runner-up position after the third round, shooting an impressive 65. But in the finale, it was the same ol same ol, with Garcia imploding like a punctured balloon. Three-putts on the second and third holes consigned him to being just another lonely soul battling to get around Hoylake without a nervous breakdown. After the first tee shot, he presented only the slightest of worries to Tiger Woods.
This probably sounds like a harsh judgment indeed to the average competitor. But we arent talking about average here. We are talking about Sergio Garcia. And Sergio keeps doing things that have us thinking he is a major-championship competitor ' only to be followed by the most baffling of stumbles. He is an absolute wizard when it comes to ball-striking, to hitting the ball on the sweet spot every time. But with the putter in his hand, he is an absolute stone mason during those moments when it counts the most.
Painfully, it reminds of the 2005 Wachovia when Garcia had a six-shot lead as the final round began, but somehow managed to lose. And after it was finally over, you might have thought Garcia would have felt some remorse. Well, no
I felt like it was a great week, he said. I felt like I performed nicely. I shot (73) in the final round on a tough course. It's not like I shot 78. I can only see the positives. That's all it is for me.
Its wonderful to have an upbeat attitude when things are their darkest. But I keep thinking, in spite of my profession, how appropriate it might have been if Garcia had grumbled something that sounds roughly like Oh spit when he saw the reporters come running for a comment afterwards. Maybe its about time he got really angry about yet another so-close performance in the majors and just let the entire world see what an angry young man is really like.
Sergio, though, is not that way, at least not publicly. And this week, he was still on a high after the Open.
I felt very good last week, the best I've felt probably all year, said Garcia. So I'm very happy about that It was a great experience. I really enjoyed it all week. I had a lot of fun. You know, I'm still quite happy about it.
Sergio, on the one hand, is to be commended for not letting what happened in the past get him down. He is positively ebullient, and he gets miffed when the questioners queries seem a little too negative.
But he isnt the bright-eyed kid any longer. He isnt that 19-year-old leaping at Medinah to see where his shot from the tree roots landed. Hes 26, and its time the great ball-striking showed tangible dividends in the final results.
I wonder at times if Garcia doesnt just say these things to buoy himself up. Tiger does this at times, you know. During those times when the whole world can see that something is wrong with his swing, Woods will bravely insist that its only a shot or two that took a weird bounce. But Tiger is entitled to a little bravado, considering his long list of achievements. Sergio isnt anywhere near those standards.
It was a shame because I felt like both putts I hit well, said Sergio of the Sunday nightmare. I hit good putts on 2 and 3, and unfortunately the greens were so crisp and so firm, they kind of both wobbled a little bit. One wobbled a little bit to the right, the other one wobbled a little bit to the left, and they both lipped out.
That's the way it is. You can't do anything about it.
Well, maybe so. And again, there would be not be a need to write this sermon if Garcia were just another Mr. Average Golfer. But hes not, of course. He has so much talent, so much potential, that he should be mentioned among the top five in the world. Instead, mention him as a favorite for the next British Open and youll get, Well, yeah, guess he could if he gets hot.
Sergio has entered his best years, the period from 25 to 35 when most golfers have turned potential into reality and near-wins into wins. Were still waiting. The kid Sergio has turned into the man Sergio. Isnt it about time he stopped feeling good about his putting and turned into a raging beast when one of those missed?
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