If you’re looking for a reason why this may finally be the week Sergio Garcia breaks through and nabs his first major, you had one today.
Garcia was grouped in the first round with two other young and daring shotmakers — Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas — and it was not hard to imagine the round devolving into golf’s version of H-O-R-S-E (“Alright, AK, 3-iron, 248 yards to the top shelf, nothing but spin!”).
But Garcia wouldn’t have it. The Spaniard made just two birdies, but more notably just one bogey (on 18, the toughest hole on the course) on his way to a classy, one-under 69. No bold moments of can-you-top-this, no firing at well-guarded flags, no immaturity.
Take the long, taxing par-3 ninth. Garcia estimated the room for error around that pin was about three feet. So, he said, "I decided to hit a good, solid shot to the middle of the green and try to make three a different way." A smarter way.
Garcia was asked after his round how he resisted pin-hunting (in front of galleries that no doubt wanted exactly that). “It is hard because we like to put aggressive swings into everything we do, but sometimes you’ve got to realize what’s right and what's wrong,” he said. “I guess you just learn it as you get older.”
That's funny, golfers tend to win majors as they get older, too.
(Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)