After 73 failed attempts to win a major Sergio Garca ultimately came good at Augusta National and took the Master having seemingly thrown his challenge away once again
On reflection it was wrong to say we had been waiting for this since 1999. It was not a thing in 1999 at all. When the precocious 19 -year-old charmer Sergio Garca announced himself by manufacturing a six iron to the green from behind a tree at that years US PGA Championship, sprinting up the fairway after it, then running Tiger Woods close in a near-miracle at Medinah, it was simply assumed he would go on insouciantly to gather up armfuls of major titles just like Tiger. But it did not work out like that.
Since then Todd Hamilton, Ben Curtis, Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, Geoff Ogilvy, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, Webb Simpson, Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir have won majors fine players but none possessing the innate panache of Sergio. Ah well, the nature of golf. But no wonder Garca at one point mentally gave up the ghost, publicly declaring he did not possess the moxie to get the job done.
The warning signs started to flash at the 2007 Open. Sergio played the third round at Carnoustie, during which he established a three-shot lead over Steve Stricker and a six-shot advantage over Padraig Harrington, in garish yellow and red. The Ronald McDonald aesthetic was a harbinger of events to come. Our Pulitzer-winning fourth-round hole-by-hole report started with a checklist for Sergio: 1. DO NOT WEAR AN ALL-YELLOW OUTFIT. 2. DO NOT COCK IT UP LIKE A CLOWN. PLEASE. He complied with part 1 at the least, sporting a tasteful lime-green top with white trousers. Our live blog finished with a resigned sigh: Oh, Sergio!
To be conscientiously fair, Sergio had not cocked it up like a clown at all; it is just very hard to win a major championship. Our blog also details the eventual winner, Harrington, virtually throwing it away himself, dumping his ball into the burn at the 18 th while nervously chomping on his tongue like hed only ingested a huge pouch of speed.
But Oh, Sergio! would become a recurring cry through the years, a refrain apparently designed to be sing forever and never fade away, like the coda to Hey Jude.
Sergio was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard at the 2007 US PGA. A year later at the same event he found water at the 16 th while resulting; his nemesis, Harrington, predominated again. At the 2014 Open he chased down the leader Rory McIlroy, taking advantage of a huge break which considered him slice an iron deep into a grandstand only for the ball to clatter back on to the apron of the green, from where he scrambled par. But he gave up on a splashing from a bunker at the 15 th and the other race was operated. Hes visibly deflated, staring at the floor , noted the report. Can you find hundreds of thousands of yards past the floor?
Arguably the most Sergio-esque Sergical? moment did not even occur in one of the big four tournaments. At the 2013 Players Championship at Sawgrass, the unofficial fifth major, he was neck and neck with Tiger on reaching the iconic island-green 17 th. Two balls in the drink led to a quadruple bogey. He doubled the last, just to make sure.
The Masters that year was special, too. He shot an opening-round 66, the big taunt, and in a brazen effort to tempt fate in his favor, the fool who helms these hole-by-hole reports introduced Sergios Official Masters Meltdown-o-Meter, designed to gauge his current state of mind. A was happy Sergio; B appeared slightly pensive; C pictured our hero kicking off his shoes, flinging clubs and( artistic licence here) kicking a cat in a fit of impotent pique.
By the time he pulled his approach at the 11 th into the drink after wiggling around over the ball for so long he made Kevin Na look like Julius Boros, the hole-by-hole report had slipped into a minimalist funk of its own: I have nothing else to say other than C.
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