It’s now or never for Sergio Garcia
It wasn’t supposed to be this hard; especially after the way things started back in the summer of 1999. Chasing a young Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship, a baby-faced 19-year-old named Sergio Garcia matched the world’s top golfer, shot-for-shot, in one of the most enthralling major championships in some time.
And that was before Garcia pulled off an are-you-kidding-me shot at Medinah that still resonates in our minds to this day. Nestled up against a tree (and the root) with the tournament in the balance, Garcia closed his eyes, swung hard, and managed to hit a low fade that ran onto the green. Shot of the tournament.
Funny thing is, that shot we so fondly remember from the 1999 PGA Championship is still the one most recall when you mention Garcia’s career highlights. The lowlights? We’ll there have been plenty. From spitting into the hole at Doral, to blaming a blown opportunity to win the British Open on a slow group in front of him, it’s easy to how little Garcia has matured, not only as a player, but as a person.
Prior to teeing it up last week at the Masters, Garcia was overheard telling a couple of people that he wasn’t in the right frame of mind for the first major championship of the year. For whatever reason, he just had the look of a player that really didn’t want to be at Augusta National.
His game definitely showed. He finished the week at the top of the list in three-putts (10) after just barely making the cut. It was another opportunity missed. To say Garcia’s sleepwalking through the prime of his career would be the understatement of the century.
Having just turned 30 in January, many assumed this would have been Garcia’s time to shine; especially after coming so close in a couple of major championships the last couple of years. His last win was in 2008, a win at the Players, has been the extent of his success recently.
Many have blasted Garcia over the years for his inability to get his putting in order when it counts. But after watching his play closely over the last 10 years, there’s really only one thing that needs to change in his game, and that’s his maturity level.
Even at the age of 30, Garcia is still acting like a child. He reportedly acted like a brash 19-year-old over the weekend at Augusta, failing to take off his cap to shake hands with Adam Scott. He then signed his scorecard and brushed away a chance to talk to the Spanish media after the round. No matter how peeved you are with your golf game, there comes a time when you have to leave such behavior in the past.
But his tantrum at Augusta was just the first of many he’s had over the years. The previously mentioned issues were just a few of the worst that have been publicized over the years. I’m pretty sure there’s been more but we probably never heard about them because they were kept under wraps.
There’s still time for Garcia to get back on top. But if he’s ever going to live up to the hype and win a major,
he’s going to need to learn how to control his emotions and grow from the inside. There comes a point in time where women (Morgan-Leigh Norman comes to mind) and golf psychologists can only take you so far.
At some point, you’ve got to do it on your own. We can only hope Sergio figures that part out before it’s too late. If not, we could end up looking back on his career, shaking our heads and wondering what could have been.