By petedirenzo
Friday, May 09, 2008

Garcia won Day One with his 6-under 66, but you get the sense from the scribes in Ponte Vedra Beach that they are ready to crown him. On the flip side, the hand that crowns is also the hand that throws players under the bus. You'd better believe that the writers will pound Garcia if he crashes this weekend, especially with so many other youngsters winning tournaments this year. In many ways, Garcia has become Phil Mickelson circa 2003 -- talented, tortured and without a major trophy.
Several reporters captured Garcia's strengths (ballstriking) and weaknesses (the flat stick) well this morning.
From Steve Elling of It has been such a long dark stretch -- three years to be exact -- since Garcia last won on either the European or PGA circuits that he's now considered more of an oddity than a prodigy. Watching Garcia putt over the past few seasons has been like going to a NASCAR track and waiting for the crash. It's pretty darned likely it's going to happen, and when it does for Garcia, a HANS device isn't going to stop the hurt. Once a player who putted with little fear, Garcia had grown so technical with his stroke, you could almost see him going down a mental checklist: Toes parallel to the ball, eyes positioned properly, shoulders square, left-hand grip firm but loose, putter perpendicular to the hole ... and the ball often missed the hole completely anyway. Then there is this gem from Larry Dorman of the New York Times describing Garcia's return to an old Scotty Cameron putter: As with other successful cures, the first requirement is to admit you have a problem. That García would hark back to a time when he was the 18-year-old El Niño speaks volumes about the number of putts he had missed in the past decade. One of the game’s best ball strikers, García’s most memorable recent miss was the 10-footer for a par at the 18th at Carnoustie that cost him the 2007 British Open. That image of the mercurial García, bent at the waist as though impaling himself on his putter, has given way to the smiling Sergio who burst onto the scene in the United States in 2001, with three PGA European titles, and victories at the Colonial and Westchester at age 20. He won four more PGA Tour events before hitting the current trough.

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