AUGUSTA, Ga. — It’s not unequivocally going to occur is it? Now, after all this time? Is Sergio Garcia about to mangle one of veteran golf’s longest streaks of futility and finally win a vital championship during his 74th attempt?
The signs are good, good a integrate during least.
One year ago Danny Willett arrived during Augusta National carrying won a Dubai Desert Classic dual months earlier. Guess who won in a same United Arab Emirate this year?
Willett — like Jack Nicklaus in 1986 — also had a series 89 on his caddie bib final year. Guess who has that series this time?
Then there is a nauseating idea that, should Sergio somehow negotiate a subsequent dual rounds improved than anyone else in a margin during this 81st Masters, he will enclose a famous immature coupler on would have been a late, good Seve Ballesteros’ 60th birthday. Ballesteros was a initial Spaniard to win a Masters behind in 1980, a attainment he solid 3 years later.
So here we are. Garcia is four-under standard during a median point, carrying combined a five-birdie, three-bogey 69 to his opening 71. Right in contention, he has played with his common declaration from tee-to-green – attack 85 percent of fairways and 70 percent of greens – his usually impulse of doubt entrance during a tenth hole. A furious tee-shot led to a provisional turn and a spook that could simply have been a lot worse.
Otherwise, Garcia’s ball-striking strength has predictably come to a front in a stormy conditions that have prevailed over a initial dual days. The final dual holes were typical. A pleasing proceed to three-feet during a 17th bequeathed a birdie. And an almost-as-good shot to a final left him five-feet or so behind a pin. But a putt was pushed wide.
Ah, a putting – ever a indeterminate partial of a Garcia diversion – has, so distant during least, been flattering reliable. After 22 top-tens in vital championships and 4 runners-up finishes, this competence usually be his time. At last.
“I strike good shots right from a start and birdied a initial 3 holes,” he said. “And we done some good putts too. we felt like we played good and strike a turn improved than yesterday. we did make a integrate of mistakes yet that will occur a approach a march is playing. we stayed certain though.”
All of that sounds good. He seems to be looking brazen to what lies ahead, rather than personification with a dismay that usually leads to a misfortune probable eventuality.
Then again, we are articulate about an often-tortured essence when it comes to a game’s 4 many critical events. Many times, peevishness has been his center name.
Back in 2009, Sergio has this to contend about a intricacies and legendary foibles of Augusta National: “I don’t like it to tell we a truth. we don’t consider it is fair. It is too tricky. Even when it is a dry day, we can be in a center of a fairway and get sand on your ball.”
Asked how he would change a course, he said: “I don’t care. They can do whatever, It is not my problem. we usually come here, play golf and go home.”
Two years earlier, a signs of such adolescence became clearer. During a third turn of a WGC eventuality during Doral, Garcia squabble into a bottom of a crater on a 13th immature after three-putting for bogey.
Then, 4 months later, following a lip-out from 8 feet or so on a 72nd immature that would have won him a Open Championship during Carnoustie, Sergio was usually as testy in a arise of his play-off detriment to Padraig Harrington.
“I should write a book on how to not skip a shot in a playoff and fire one over,” he moaned. “It is tough especially since we don’t feel like we did anything wrong. we didn’t skip a shot in a playoff and strike unimaginable putts, yet they usually didn’t wish to go in.
It’s a approach it is, we guess. It’s not news in my life. I’m personification opposite a lot of guys out there. More than a field.”
Oh, yet it got worse. Much worse. In 2012, again here during Augusta, Garcia’s mental contentment seems to strech a new low.
“I’m not good adequate and currently we know it,” he whined. “I’ve been perplexing for 13 years and we don’t feel able of winning. we don’t know what happened to me. Maybe it’s something psychological. After 13 years, my chances are over. I’m not good adequate for a majors. That’s it.”
And a day later.
“Everything we say, we contend it since we feel it,” he said. “If we didn’t meant it, we couldn’t mount here and distortion like a lot of a guys do. If we felt like we could win, we would do it. Unfortunately during a moment, unless we get unequivocally propitious in one of a weeks, we can’t unequivocally play many improved than we played this week. And I’m going to finish 13th or 15th. What does that uncover you?”
There have been other times of complicated angst. Like 2010, when a vexed Garcia told afterwards European Ryder Cup skipper Colin Montgomerie not to collect him for a matches during Celtic Manor.
Or 2013, when, during a European Tour cooking during Wentworth, he done what were widely seen as racially-insensitive remarks about his long-term nemesis, Tiger Woods. Asked about assembly with Woods during a arriving U.S. Open, Garcia responded, “We’ll have him turn each night. We will offer boiled chicken.”
To his credit, Garcia released a matter after that night apologizing. Another reparation followed a subsequent day, in that he certified his comments were “totally foolish and out of place.”
Happily, 2017 is clearly a improved place for a now 37-year aged former man-child. Perhaps since of a happy attribute he has shaped with former Golf Channel employee, Angela Atkins – a span are to be married after this year – Garcia is clearly some-more delighted than ever before.
“Getting married really helps,” he confirms. “When things are going good and we are happy off a march it is easy to combine on a course.”
Speaking of which, detached from a win in Dubai, Garcia’s play has been solid and consistent, closely imitative a apparent fortitude of his life off a course. How many that will change his opening over a subsequent dual days when a vigour to attain will fundamentally boost stays to be seen. But a signs are good, not usually this week yet over a final few months.
One final question: Are we about to declare what would be a many noted feat in a career that certainly merits during slightest one Grand Slam title? It would be a heckuva story.
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