Mon Aug 09 12:09pm EDT
He was supposed to be our generation's Boy Wonder. The young, hip Spaniard that would give our superstar a run at the big events, and take home a few of his own, prancing around the course with that big grin and that hospitable personality and that incredible ability to hit the golf ball.
That was then, this is ughhh. Sergio Garcia, now 30 years old, is a shade of his former self, and he knows it. That's why after the PGA Championship this week, Garcia plans to take two months away from the game, missing the Ryder Cup for the first time since he burst on the scene in 1999, still just a teenager.
It's hard to blame Sergio for taking such measures. Other than the Ryder Cup, most of the season-ending events are just for show, and the guy hasn't been playing anywhere near what he's used to in nearly two years. His last win on both the PGA and European Tours came in 2008, and this season he has finished in the top 10 only once, and that wasn't even at a stroke-play event.
While it will be strange to see a European squad without Garcia in the mix (he is 14-6-4 lifetime at the team event), it seems that if there was a year to miss it, this was it. Captain Colin Montgomerie has probably the best group of talent any European team has ever fielded, and that's without Garcia and Lee Westwood, who might not be back because of an injury that will force him to miss the final major at Whistling Straits this week.
Garcia was honest about his decision, saying, "I need to miss the game a little bit," which is probably a good move in the long run if it helps him to do so.
The next time we will see Sergio is in October, at the Castellon Masters on his home course in Spain. No word yet if we will get old, grumpy Garcia, or a re-energized version that wouldn't mind a few scissor kicks around the course for old times.