Sergio Garcia baby-steps his way back into the game

There was a time when we believed Sergio Garcia was primed to take over the golf world. That time has come and gone; Sergio is more famous now for falling short of golf's pinnacles than achieving them. But there's something about Sergio that keeps us coming back to see if maybe this time he's put it all together.

He's only 31, which is mind-numbing in a way; he's barely a year older than Nick Watney, but seems like he's been around forever. His game has been in trouble for years, and his off-course travails have only complicated matters. Whether he's griping about Augusta or bemoaning the loss of his girlfriend, Garcia always manages to say or do exactly the thing that annoys a huge portion of the golf fan base.

Then he'll go and play well for a bit, getting hopes up. But just after announcing he's leaving golf for a couple months, he goes Happy Gilmore on a bunker. Next, he hates golf, and then it seems like he's found his love for the game again. We've written the whole "is Sergio back?" story so many times we don't even know what he's coming back from anymore. And maybe neither does he.

Still, he does seem to care, or at least he says the things that someone who does care would say. "Every tournament, we are nervous, but obviously when you haven't been here for it a while, and you are trying to get back into your own game you always have a little bit of doubts in your head," he said after Thursday's Transitions first round, in which he ended the day -3, T16 and four strokes behind leader Paul Casey. "[T]he good thing about [playing well] is that means I'm going on the right track. I care about what I'm doing, and if I didn't care at all, I probably wouldn't even feel it."

We'll see. We'll keep hoping for some more flash from Sergio, but we're not exactly expecting much.