When he was asked this past weekend about the 2008 Ryder Cup -- you remember, that Cup where a bunch of scrappy Americans waxed the highly favored European squad -- Sergio had an easy answer for why the U.S. romped. The reason: no Tiger.
"Tiger's absence made a difference," Garcia said. "It made some of the other players step it up. They wanted to show everyone they could win without Tiger. Maybe when he's there, he's the leader and everyone falls in behind him. Without him, everyone wanted to be the leader. They played amazing golf. You could see a different energy in the team."
Garcia will get grief for those comments, but for the record, I agree with him. Everybody tends to let Tiger do his thing in these competitions, and hope that he can carry the whole team to a win. But Corey Pavin, 2010 captain, doesn't hold that view.
"The perception is that having Tiger in the team can cause problems internally," he said. "The perception is wrong. I watched him in 2006 and walked every step of the way with him the first two days of the matches. I looked into his eyes and I could see how much he wanted to win."
I don't think that Tiger causes problems internally; he's just the alpha dog and everybody bows down to him, even those on his own team. While it's no guarantee that he won't play, the U.S. has to proceed as if he'll be without them -- and judging from 2008, they'll be just fine.
Sergio, meanwhile, is talking tough without Tiger around. It'll be interesting to see if Tiger exacts his brand of revenge on Garcia. Add him to the list ...