Not to be outdone, Garcia beaned Chris Ratcliffe, a Bloomberg photographer, with a badly pulled approach shot to the par-4 17th hole. It was Garcia's only errant shot of the day. Ratcliffe was standing in an officially designated photo area down the left side of the hole when he was struck behind the left ear. Garcia apologized and handed the shooter a signed glove and ball. While Ratcliffe was given medical attention, Garcia made a tough up and down for par.
"I hit a 4-iron," Garcia said. "Bad 4-iron, by the way, pulled it a little bit. When I got there, probably I was about 25, 30 yards short of it, and I saw that there was a person lying down. I knew right away that I hit him ... I shook his hand. He told me he was fine. Of course he was a little shaken up."
After hitting a 2-iron off the tee on the 499-yard, par-4 18th, which was playing shorter with the tees moved up, Garcia hit the latest in a series of great iron shots dead at the flag. He barely missed the birdie putt. Still, it had been a good day.
He made birdie on the opening hole and two more on the par-3 8th and the par-4 11th. He did not make a bogey and showed none of the nerves that have gotten the better of him in the majors. Afterward, he refused to even talk about prior disappointments. At his press conference, he was asked a question that began, "Sergio, I don't want to rekindle bad memories ..."
"O.K. don't," Garcia interjected, prompting laughter in the standing-room-only press center. "Next question, please."
The journalist continued to try to get his question out, but Garcia wouldn't have it.
"You just said you don't want to bring bad memories," he said. "Don't ask it. Next question."
"I was just going to ask you," the questioner continued, "will you do something different this time?"
"I'm not going to do anything different," Garcia said. "I'm going to go out there and try to play my own game, just like I've been doing every single day, and just believe in myself as much as possible. That's the only thing I can do.
"The only thing I can control is myself, and that's about it. So I think if I am in control, the way I'm hitting the ball, it's right there for the taking. Hopefully it will be good enough."