Why I Hate Sergio Garcia
1) He's French...OK, he's not French, but he might as well be.
2) He's overhyped. The only statistical category he leads the Tour in is "Endorsement Dollars Not Justified By On Course Performance". Michelle Wie holds a commanding lead in the LPGA in the same category.
3) He's a whiner. On the 220 yard par three 16th hole at the 2007 British Open, he skulled a line drive that was headed at least 50 yards over the green. Miraculously, the ball smashed into the flagstick and somehow stayed on the green. After missing yet another big putt on 18 to win, then spitting the bit in the playoff, he referred back to the bounce on 16 in his post game press conference.
"How come everybody else gets the breaks," he moaned. "When they hit the flagstick, the ball drops in the hole." What a loser.
4) He has bad taste in clothes. Remember the head to toe canary yellow outfit he wore in the the final round of the 2006 British Open? If there were a gay golf tour...
5) He's a choker. With a wealth of examples to choose from, let's go with the latest. Leading the 2008 PGA Championship by one stroke on Sunday afternoon, the "best ball striker on tour" was standing in the middle of the 16th fairway with a nine iron in his hand.
He proceeded to inexplicably hit a Greg Norman-esque flare into the water in front of the green. On the next hole, he missed a five foot putt for birdie, gift wrapping the lead—and his first major—for Harrington.
6) He's young, rich, good looking and gets the type of poontang guys like you and me can only dream about.
On a serious note, I actually have a much bigger problem with Sergio. You see, about three years ago I started working with a new golf pro. He's from Missouri and one of his best friends is fellow Missourian Stan Utley. At the time I had barely heard of Utley, who's a former touring pro known for his short game. A lot of his fellow pros came to him for short game advice and he eventually started a career as a teacher.
I had some success with my first few lessons and I agreed to allow my pro to completely rebuild my game, including my full swing, around Utley's methods. I started with a 13 handicap and have since lowered it all the way down to seven. Pretty heady stuff for a 51 year old like me who had been stuck at 13 handicap for the previous eight years. Stan Utley's career in meantime has been skyrocketing. Last year he cracked the top five of Golf Digest's Top 50 Golf Instructors.
What does this have to do with Sergio Garcia? In Janauary I was thumbing through Golf Digest and I read a small blurb revealing that Sergio had hired Stan Utley as his putting coach. My blood ran cold. My palms became clammy. The implications of this became clear to me immediately.
Sergio has a reputation as the best ball striker on tour, but he's one of the worst putters. What if Utley straightens his putting out? What if he goes on a tear? What if he starts winning majors? I'm going to have to root for him. His success using Utley's methods will validate my success using Utley's methods. That will be me out there winning, not Sergio.
But I'm not Sergio Garcia! I'm Tiger Woods! Everybody knows that!
My nightmare is becoming a reality. As I expected, Sergio's putting has improved dramatically. 2008 was probably had his best year on tour. He won The Players Championship and challenge the top of the leaderboard almost every week.
Since he's always in contention, he's getting loads of airtime. My ears ring incessantly with announcers lauding Garcia's new putting prowess. "Sergio's putting stroke looks real solid, huh, Gary?" and " Yeah, Johnny, his work with Stan Utley seems to really be paying off." It's torturous.
Two souls now beat within this breast. One who hates Sergio and one who is forced to root for him. Oh, the misery!
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