This week the PGA is playing The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Since Sergio Garcia won it last year, it got me to thinking about him. Most of America's first impression of Garcia was this kid grinning from ear to ear when he finished 2nd at the 1999 PGA Championship. He made wacky shots around trees and ran up the fairway to see where his shot was going. He had talent and personality. And he was only 19!!! He was a sure thing.
Only he hasn't been. He's 0-for-42 in majors. And we found out he's not so happy go lucky when things aren't going his way. After shooting a 74 in the second round of the 2002 US Open, he complained that the USGA hadn't stopped play because of rain and whined, "If Tiger Woods would have been out there, it would have been called."
At the 2007 British Open, he lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington, after blowing a three-shot lead. Rather than conceding that, perhaps, he didn't play all that well, Garcia instead blamed his collapse on bad bounces, the group playing ahead of him, and even the maintenance workers because they were too slow in raking the bunkers.
You think he'd learn over time, become more mature. Apparently not because he was in full "blame anyone but me" mode a few weeks ago at the Masters. He shot a 74 in the final round. This made Sergio mad. As a result when asked about his round and how the course played, Garcia said, "I don't think it's fair, and it's just too tricky. Even when it's dry, you still get mud balls in the middle of the fairway. It's just too much of a guessing game." Follow up questioning asked how he would change Augusta National. Garcia replied, "I don't care. They can do whatever. It is not my problem. I just come here, play golf and go home."
Garcia's behavior at Ryder Cups is another splendid example. He's the life of the party when the European team is doing well (which has been the norm lately). He's smiling, cracking jokes, high-fiving all around him. But what was he like at the most recent Ryder Cup? Not a happy camper. No smiles, no high-fives. Take a guess who won.
Oh yeah, here's another thing I don't like about him. He plays sooooo slow. That re-gripping thing he does drives me nuts. He'd be slow anyway, but then he almost always backs away from his shot at least once as he "prepares" to shoot.