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Shane Bacon

The curious case of Sergio Garcia

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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When you talk about talent in the golfing world, few names pop into your head. Tiger, Phil, Ernie and Jim. These are the types of guys you think about, but not far down the list is that 30-year-old Spaniard whom always seems to divide a room.

This is where we start with the man that is Sergio Garcia. Once a kiddo running down a fairway after a closed-eyed iron shot, almost foreshadowing a career with unlimited possibilities, Sergio has hit a wall with this darn game.

If there is ever been a golfer with bad habits on the course, it's Sergio. If he isn't spitting in a cup after a missed putt, Garcia waggled, waggled and waggled his way out of New Yorkers hearts. On top of that, it seems that Sergio doesn't really want to be out there anymore, and it shows with his game.

Last week at the Verizon Heritage, Garcia missed the cut, adding another forgettable week to his 2010. In six stroke play events this year, Sergio's best finish has been a tie for 37th. The once prodigal golfing son has spent more time tinkering with his grip than solid finishes, and so the question lingers; will Sergio ever be the man we wanted him to be?

While it seems I'm being hard on Garcia, it is fair to point out that the man is two or three shots away from owning at least two major championships. In 2007 Garcia was a putt away from taking home a British Open that seemed destined for him to win, but couldn't convert the par on the nasty 18th at Carnoustie, and ended up losing to Padraig Harrington. That theme continued at the 2008 PGA Championship, when once again the Irishman edged out Garcia.

Since then, Sergio hasn't been very electric. His last victory on both the PGA and European Tour came in '08, and Sergio's 2009 was full of misadventures, with only three top-10s to his credit and a handful of headshakes.

You could argue that at 30, Garcia should be coming into his own, but it sure seems he's on the other end of destiny. This year, he's ranked 136th on tour in greens in regulation, an incredible number considering how well he once hit the ball. He still can't putt, ranking 129th in putter per round, and when you aren't hitting a lot of greens and can't get the ball in the hole you're asking for a long year.

In 2005, the last time the British was held at St. Andrews, Garcia was in the hunt, finishing fifth as Tiger Woods claimed another major championship. With the British once again returning to the home of golf, the thought that Sergio will finally win his major is pretty far-fetched.

Maybe we are all too hard on Garcia, who seems for the most part to be a nice kid that just acts confused on the golf course, but his play explains it all. If Sergio wants to be a star again, he's going to have to quit tinkering with the swing, and just go out and post the numbers he used to as a youngster.

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