Lots of youth on the leader board at the 90th PGA Championship, including the maddening Sergio Garcia, who would have about four majors if he could wield that darn flatstick. The 28-year-old Garcia four-putted the 17th green on Friday -- that doesn't help the scorecard. But he recovered in the third round, shooting one-under 69 to improve to one over for the tournament. He still has a chance to win. Larry Dorman of the New York Times asks: "Is it finally his time? After all the disappointments and letdowns, the dissolutions and meltdowns, has García come of age?"
One of the favorable signs, perhaps the most favorable, is that García’s demeanor has changed since his victory at the Players Championship. That win was impressive. He handled difficult conditions and kept his cool on a difficult T.P.C. Sawgrass layout.
He showed the self-discipline needed to survive the Sunday heat of a big-time tournament. Maybe this time, it's not a mirage. Maybe keeping his composure after taking four putts will carry over.
“I mean, to tell you the truth, I was calm,” García said. “Obviously, I was a little ticked off at myself on the 18th tee, but I was calm because I didn’t feel like I hit bad putts.
“Obviously, you never feel good after making a double, but I wasn’t feeling that bad. And I knew that I had a tough hole coming up and I needed to be at my 100 percent to be able to make par or birdie if I wanted it. I had a good chance of making birdie; unfortunately, I just misjudged the speed of the green.”
One reporter tried to bait García into unloading on the setup of Oakland Hills after Friday's round, repeatedly asking if he agreed with some golfers who said the setup was unfair.
“It’s a tough course,” García replied.
“Do you agree?” the questioner persisted.
“It’s a tough course,” García repeated.
“But is it unfair?”
“Did I say that?” García said. “It’s a tough course. A really tough course. But it’s playable.”
García has shown maturity on and off the course this week. Now we'll see if he can follow through with his first major championship victory.