Sergio Garcia – Woe Is Me
I am a long-time fan of Spanish golfers as a national tradition. I viewed Seve Ballesteros as a hero for his ruthless ability to concentrate, his iron nervesÂ and his general â€œgo for itâ€ quality. I watched Olazabel win the Masters, and have enjoyed the recent emergence of several Spanish women on the LPGA tour. Maybe itâ€™s just a fan putting the face on it that he wants to see, but I always thought the Spanish golf tradition had a certain nobility all its own, and looked forward to more of the same in Sergio Garcia.
Born in 1980, Mr. Garcia would be at or approaching the age of thirty three, but to date, thereâ€™s little sign of it. After a line of club-throwing, cup-spitting, microphone shattering incidents, a romance novelâ€™s quota of â€œwoe is me,â€ â€œIâ€™m a victim,â€ and more whining than my grandchildren, I am sick to death of him, and donâ€™t really care if I ever watch him play again.
Ironically, in throwing away the Players Championship, a tournament he won a few years back, via two balls in the water late in the fourth round, he controlled himself better than usual. He didnâ€™t break anything, and actually admitted that he was holding the club that sent the fateful shots to Davy Jones Locker. Thatâ€™s a step in the right direction, I suppose.
Garcia was all potential as an amateur, and every sign pointed to greatness. He was the youngest player to win the European Amateur. He has been a Ryder Cup star and has experienced near-misses at the Open and PGA. The game of golf has made him a very rich man, and yet he is a disappointment to those who predicted more, and most likely to himself.
Seeing Garcia and Woods paired together at the top of the leaderboard didnâ€™t look much like a maturity festival, but it did portend some great golf. Woods is not a paragon of refinement, either, but somewhere along the line, even he got it that when called by the angels to own those trophies, one still has to show up and win them on the course.
Tiger has made some progress of late in the personal department, at least in outward behavior, but weâ€™re still waiting on Garcia, who seemingly never passes up a chance for one last swing at adolescence. History is full of talented people who dressed their childishness in being a â€œfree-spirit,â€ being filled with â€œcompetitive fireâ€ and as Garcia is fond of saying, â€œbeing true to himself.â€ They seemed to believe that if they grew up, they wouldnâ€™t be interesting anymore. Maybe thatâ€™s true, although growing up a bit might have meant a few more victories for Garcia. He has become the punch line for late round â€œchokeâ€ jokes, and the big money always goes against him holding together on Sunday.
The various tours have little apparent interest in reigning in their more colorful characters. On one hand, why bother? Every group has them, and sometimes they are among the upper talents. That makes them too interesting to restrain, so rather than losing the ratings, they allow the game to be trampled by adult children with sticks.
If Sergio Garcia wants to breathe the rarified air of Seve Ballesteros, heâ€™ll have to trade in the disrespect for his professional environment and learn what really made Seve great. Heâ€™ll have to trade in his mental fragility and embrace some Tigerish toughness. Heâ€™ll have to give up the â€œwunderkindâ€ label â€“ thatâ€™s over, way over â€“ and it would be nice to see him be â€œtrueâ€ to a better part of himself, one that is, as yet, undiscovered.