Another poor outing on the PGA Tour, this time at the Players Championship on a course and tournament that he absolutely loves, and Sergio Garcia as well as his fans were left wondering what is going on with the World’s No. 3.
Expectations are high as well they should be for a player that walked onto the TPC Sawgrass this year as the defending champ and as a golfer with as much talent as anyone in the game. They were high entering the ’09 season as Garcia was playing perhaps his best golf of his career. Finishing second at the PGA Championship in August and then losing to Vijay Singh in a playoff in the Wachovia Championship on the first leg of the FedEx Cup before finishing third overall behind Singh and Villegas. Garcia also went on to win the ’08 award for scoring average on Tour which is certainly no small feat.
All of that though, makes his start to the ’09 season that much more disappointing — and perplexing — to his fans like myself as well as I’m sure to Sergio himself. He admitted as much to the media during the week, stating he’s not playing 100% and is disappointed with it. But that doesn’t seem to be all that is bothering Garcia.
PGATour.com writer Brian Wacker alluded to some personal problems being an issue in Garcia’s life currently in his “Defending champ looks gassed on and off the course” article. If that be the case then for himself and for his fans, Sergio needs to get his head straight off the course in the next few weeks to straighten out his play on the course heading into the U.S. Open in mid-June.
Garcia needs to sometimes be reminded that he has all the talent and ability in the world to be a multiple major winner and the best golfer in the world. His only problem is the mental side of the game. That’s the part that makes Tiger Woods, well Tiger Woods. Nothing fazes him. Even having no game at all on Sunday in the final pairing at the Player’s, Woods shoots a 73 in absolutely tough conditions. That’s impressive. To Garcia’s credit he has taken huge steps in recent years to improving in that facet and crossing that seemingly impenetrable threshold of winning a first major.
His run at Carnoustie in ’07 and last year’s PGA at Oakland Hills showed Garcia that he has the game to get it done and each time he’s gotten closer and closer. All that’s left is to break through that door.
And he can. But to do so Sergio is going to need to get his mind right quickly because the next three majors are his best ones and each course — Bethpage Black (U.S. Open), Turnberry (British Open) and Hazeltine (PGA) — are ones he’s excelled at in the past.
Hopefully Sunday’s 69 was a start in that direction. I’ll be the first one rooting for him that’s for sure.