Players Championship 2013: Sergio Garcia's Epic Failure Illustrates Biggest Flaw
Sergio Garcia does epic failure better than anyone else on the PGA Tour.
He absolutely imploded on Sunday in the final round of the 2013 Players Championship, and you can nearly always count on him to blow it when the pressure is on.
One of the most talented golfers on the planet, Garcia has repeatedly botched attempts at winning big tournaments and is famous for having never won a major championship.
Therefore, nobody was surprised when he dropped not one but two shots into the drink on the famous island green—the 17th hole at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. ESPN's Rick Reilly pointed out the sad truth that Garcia's meltdown is something he'll never live down:
With a chance to win The Players, Sergio Garcia rinses an entire sleeve. He'll never live this down.— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) May 12, 2013
But he wasn't even done yet.
After posting a dreaded "other" on No. 17 (quadruple-bogey seven), Garcia then proceeded to send his tee shot on No. 18 into the water, making it the third ball to land in the drink in the final two holes of the tournament.
As Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel pointed out when Garcia finally limped in, he dropped six strokes in the final two holes:
Sergio Garcia drops six shots on the final two holes. Shoots 4-over 76 and finishes tied for eighth place.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) May 12, 2013
Before his collapse, Garcia was tied for the lead at 13-under par with two holes left to play on Sunday at the 2013 Players Championship.
After playing well but not great golf through the first 10 holes, Garcia went on a tear, making birdie in three of his next six holes, including the par-five No. 16 to tie Tiger Woods and Jeff Maggert for the lead with two holes left to play.
After watching Garcia melt down, golf fan Tom Walker posted this message on Twitter:
Sergio Garcia is the biggest choke artist since Frodo Baggins failed to throw the ring into the lava.— Tom Walker (@TomWalkerMUFC) May 12, 2013
Garcia simply finds ways to choke when the pressure is on, and this fact couldn't have been more clearly illustrated this Sunday.
After sending three balls into the water, his round was over. He had no chance to win, and the pressure was gone.
What did Garcia do?
He stuck his approach shot into No. 18.
Garcia has as much natural talent as any golfer in the world, but when faced with pressure situations he cannot seem to remember how to hit the ball more often than not.
After winning this same tournament back in 2008, Garcia was on his way to having a phenomenal season—his best ever as a pro.
He should have won the PGA Championship that year, but he hit his tee shot into the water on the 70th hole.
He should have won the Barclays (just one tournament later), but he celebrated prematurely and fell victim to Vijay Singh in a playoff.
Finally, in the final tournament that year—the Tour Championship—Garcia allowed Camillo Villegas to beat him in a playoff with two pars.
He's had other failures to close the deal in more recent history, including the 2012 Barclays when he blew a two-stroke lead in the final round.
Underwhelming under pressure doesn't begin to cut it. When the pressure is on, Garcia finds ways to lose. He's only won eight PGA tournaments in his career—a paltry number for someone with his abilities.
Perhaps this is the reason why he is so eager to point the finger at others instead of taking personal responsibility for his poor play. Remember, he made a huge fuss about Woods distracting him on the second hole Saturday after he'd hit a poor shot into the green.
Video evidence after the fact showed that the noise Garcia referred to actually occurred while he was standing over his ball, not when he actually addressed and hit it (h/t Bob Harig of ESPN.com).
After throwing away the tournament on Sunday, Garcia still failed to take responsibility for his failure, per Sobel:
Sergio Garcia on 17: "That hole has been good to me. Today it wasn't. That's the way it is. That's the kind of hole it is."— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) May 12, 2013
That's the kind of response we expect from our politicians, but the hole had nothing to do with Garcia's mistakes. He went a step further in his own defense, per the PGA Tour:
You'll never hear Woods or any other top golfer make a comment like that.
Will Garcia ever win a major championship?
It's like he's saying, "I only get so many good shots given to me by the golf Gods, so I might as well be happy with the ones they give me."
Unless Garcia finally starts owning up to his mistakes and stops pointing fingers at others and at the course, he'll never win a major championship. It's a shame, too, because he has more talent in his pinkie finger than some players have in their entire body.
Unfortunately, he has never approached the game with the right mindset to take advantage of his immense talent.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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