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Borges: Sergio Garcia has Masters plan to break major drought

rooz Borges: Sergio Garcia has Masters plan to break major drought image

Borges: Sergio Garcia has Masters plan to break major drought Ron Borges Saturday, April 08, 2017 Credit: The Associated Press Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts to a shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 7, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) comments AUGUSTA, Ga. — Sergio Garcia is halfway home again. Better than most here at the Masters, he knows exactly what that means.
It means nothing.
Garcia has played in 71 straight majors and 73 overall. He has finished top-10 22 times. He has finished top-five 10 times. He has finished second four times. He has yet to win. So to be tied with Charley Hoffman, Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler at 4-under halfway through the 81st Masters, while significant, is, he knows well, relatively meaningless.
“The more majors I play the more chances I have,” Garcia said after his round of 3-under-par 69. “So I’m excited about the challenges that this weekend is going to bring and hopefully I’ll step up to them and be able to be up there Sunday with a solid chance at winning this beautiful tournament. At the same time, it is Friday afternoon. It’s not Sunday.”
For Garcia, Sunday at the majors has been the day that never comes. Or at least the day where he’s never quite come through.
That dates back to his legendary 1999 losing battle with Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship when Garcia was a sprightly, 19-year-old fawn attacking a tiger. He lost that day but convinced many golf experts that his would be a career filled with major championships. Today, at 37, it feels like time is running out.
A fawn no longer, Garcia time and again puts himself on the cusp, or perhaps the precipice, of his dream, then teeters over the edge. Come Sunday, the trophy is never his.
The Masters has always been unkind to him. Garcia has only three top-10 finishes here in 19 starts and it was at Augusta five years ago that he had what seemed at the time a flameout of fractured confidence when he told the Spanish press after a stumbling third-round 75 took him out of contention on a day that began with him tied for the lead that he would never master the Masters or any major championship.
He doubled down on those statements after his final round on Sunday, seeming to make a declaration of surrender to the pressures of major golf.
“Everything I say, I say it because I feel it,” Sergio said at the time. “If I didn’t mean it, I couldn’t stand here and lie like a lot of the guys do. If I felt like I could win, I would do it. Unfortunately at the moment, unless I get really lucky in one of the weeks, I can’t really play much better than I played this week. And I’m going to finish 13th or 15th (T-12 actually). What does that show you?
“That’s the reality. I’m not good enough and today I know it. I’ve been trying for 13 years and I don’t feel capable of winning. I don’t know what happened to me. Maybe it’s something psychological. . . . After 13 years, my chances are over. I’m not good enough for the majors. That’s it.”
Not quite. The very next year he finished T-8 here and has since finished second, fifth and sixth at the Open Championship and T-5 at the U.S. Open. While victory has eluded him, the idea that he isn’t good enough to win seems absurd because he keeps doing what he did again yesterday — which is give himself another chance.
Isn’t that what everyone needs to succeed in life? One more chance to make things right? One more chance to show what you’re capable of?
Garcia often has seemed a captive of his rawest emotions. And at this moment he feels pretty good.
Part of the reason is a new-found ability to shirk off the bad moments, the errant shot and, most of all, the perfect shot the gods of golf decide to dismiss on a whim. For many years such things could cause Garcia to unravel in the middle of a round but not gusting winds, bad bounces or a scoring snafu could get to him yesterday.
On the 10th hole, Garcia and playing partner Shane Lowry both hit their tee shots into the woods. Garcia’s took a lucky hop and he found it. Lowry was not so lucky.
Lowry hit a provisional and ultimately had to play it because he could not find his original ball, suffering a 1-shot penalty. Somehow the scorers mistook the 180-pound Garcia for the 240-and-counting-pound Lowry.
“Shane lost his ball,” Lee Westwood joked. “Sergio found his. Guess the scorer couldn’t tell them apart, they look so alike.”
Not hardly, but when Garcia got to the 13th and saw the scoreboard listing him as 1-under it might well have unhinged earlier versions of himself. No more.
“The most important thing is I knew where I stood,” Garcia said.
Probably not so many years ago but Garcia explained he has become more accepting of such things as the years have passed. The fire can still burn hot but not over things as serendipitous as a mistaken score or windblown shot.
That sense of acceptance, it seems, has left him with another chance to do what he once thought he could not.
“It definitely helps if you’ve been around a little bit because you know what to expect,” Garcia said. “Once you realize that sometimes funny things are going to happen with good shots and you can accept that, then you can do better.
“There were a couple of moments out there where I could have lost it a little bit. You’ve just got to realize those things are going to happen. If you manage to do that, then you can come out here and have a chance.”
Sergio Garcia has that chance once again. What he does with it is up to him . . . and, of course, the often fickle fates of golf.

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