Garcia wants to go back
Sergio Garcia says he would like nothing better than to recapture the carefree days of his youth some 10 years ago.
Sergio Garcia reflected on his 10 years in the professional game since his dramatic US PGA Championship debut this week and admitted he was trying to recapture those carefree days of his youth.
Garcia was 19 in 1999 when he took America by storm at Medinah, near Chicago, and made Tiger Woods work hard for his first PGA Championship victory.
The Spanish teenager, known as ‘El Nino’, missed out by a shot on that occasion, but won hearts with a cavalier approach typified by a daring shot from right of the fairway at Medinah’s 16th, flashing his club with eyes shut and lifting his ball out from the exposed roots of a tree before chasing after it to see if it had reached the green.
A decade later, world number six Garcia is still waiting for his first major as he readies himself to tee off in the 2009 US PGA at Hazeltine National in Minnesota, once more yearning for those days when missing a fairway mattered very little.
“I feel like probably my overall game is better now than it was in ’99,” the Spaniard said last night.
“I think that the beauty of when I came out is you know, when you are a youngster, you don’t care about anything.
“You just play and hit it and find it and you don’t worry about missing a fairway here or missing a green there. You just go along like nothing happened.
“So that’s the beauty of it. That’s what we all try to get back.
“As you spend more and more time here, you start kind of seeing more things. But you know, I’m happy the way I’ve developed as a player. I’m looking forward to keep getting better and keep giving myself good chances.”
Garcia has given himself plenty of good chances in majors since the 1999 US PGA, finishing 10th when the championship last visited Hazeltine in 2002 and tying for third in 2006 behind Woods on the return to Medinah.
Last year, his conqueror was Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, the Irishman denying him at the 2007 Open at Carnoustie and also taking advantage of his mistake at Oakland Hills near Detroit when he found water at the 16th.
Garcia had to settle for second best on each occasion, but he is still confident his time will come in the majors.
“I think that when we come out, we all are trying to do our best and we all are trying to win tournaments and trying to win majors and everything.
“After ’99, I didn’t come home and say, ‘oh, because of what I did at the PGA, I should win eight majors in the next six or seven years’.
“No, you try to play your best and give yourself chances and win as many as you can. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t.”
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