FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) – Another week, another caddie for Sergio Garcia.
Garcia used a caddie from a nearby golf club when he won the Wyndham Championship on Monday in North Carolina. For the opening playoff event at The Barclays, he has turned to Wayne Richardson, who typically roams the fairways getting yardage for the CBS Sports telecast.
“He's not a professional caddie, but I don't feel like I need that at the moment,'' Garcia said. “I'm probably just going to do my own thing until the end of the year, and then at the end of the year I'll decide what's best for me.''
As the No. 33 seed in the FedEx Cup, Garcia is assured of playing next week in the Deutsche Bank Championship, and he mostly likely will be in Indianapolis for the BMW Championship. The big question is what he does for a caddie at the Ryder Cup.
“Same thing,'' Garcia said. “Doesn't change anything.''
But when asked if he would use a local caddie from Medinah at the Sept. 28-30 matches, Garcia was more vague.
“No. I'll see who I use,'' he said.
He won last week for the first time in four years on the PGA Tour, though the 32-year-old Spaniard won twice last year on the European Tour. He hopes to carry some of that momentum into the next month of playoff events.
It starts at Bethpage Black, where Garcia has some history. He played in the final group with Tiger Woods in the 2002 U.S. Open, starting four shots behind and closing with a 74. He tied for 10th in the 2009 U.S. Open, making up ground the last day with a 70.
His first time at Bethpage Black was when Garcia was working so hard on his swing that he constantly re-gripped and waggled the clubs, and the New York fans were on him all day. At one point, Garcia was seen pointing back using the middle finger.
It's not a bad memory, just a forgotten one.
Even though he has won this tournament twice, both times at Westchester, he was being asked about the fans not always being kind to him.
“What you do mean? They've been great,'' Garcia said.
When it was suggested that he has endured a few unruly moments, Garcia dismissed it. “No, not at all.''
NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: The Barclays feels like a homecoming for Keegan Bradley, especially at Bethpage Black.
Bradley played college golf at St. John's, so he knows area well and referred to the Black as his favorite course in the world. Bradley is among the very few who have played this course without having to sleep in the parking lot to get a tee time, or even have to worry about anyone on the course.
He called it a great secret, even if everyone knows about it by now.
The superintendent, Craig Currier, used to let the St. John's golf team come to the course on Monday, when it was closed.
“We'd pull up and park at his superintendent's house, and we'd start on the third hole and play, because there was nobody out here,'' he said. “We could play all of us in one group – seven, eight guys – just having such fun little matches and basically having Bethpage Black to ourselves, which I don't know if there's anybody in the world that's ever experienced that. Normally you're out here, it's a six-hour round, it's brutal.''
That explains why one of the toughest moments in his young career came in 2009, before Bradley made it to the PGA Tour, when he tried to qualify for the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. He made bogey on the last two holes of sectional qualifying and missed out by one shot.
“I was devastated,'' he said. “So I'm so happy to be able to come back and play here and have a chance to play in front of these fans.''
The last time Bradley played Bethpage Black was his first year as a pro in 2008 at the New York State Open. It wasn't a U.S. Open, but it felt like one.
“Sometimes at these New York Opens they have here, they like to punish us and test out how tough it's going to be,'' Bradley said. “Like I said, I love the course, and any round under par is going to be good this week.''
TIGER CLOSING IN: Tiger Woods won the 2002 U.S. Open and tied for sixth in the 2009 U.S. Open when they were played at Bethpage Black.
At stake this week at The Barclays is not a chance for a 15th major, rather another milestone in a career filled with them. Woods needs to earn $225,300 – the equivalent of a finish inside the top 10 – to break the $100 million mark in PGA Tour earnings.
Not so interesting is the race to see who is No. 2 in career earnings. Vijay Singh has a $326,374 lead over Phil Mickelson for second place.
Mickelson has a good track record at Bethpage, too. He was runner-up to Woods in 2002, and a runner-up to Lucas Glover in 2009.
WHO'S NO. 1: Rory McIlroy went back to No. 1 in the world by winning the PGA Championship, ahead of Luke Donald and Tiger Woods.
He was asked Wednesday who he thought was the best player in golf – with Tiger Woods listening at the back of the room.
Give the kid credit for diplomacy.
“Tiger has won more than anyone else this year, winning three times,'' McIlroy said. “I've won a couple of times, including a major. Luke has been very consistent again. It's hard for me to sit up here and say that I'm the best player in the world or Tiger is. Sure, I feel like I'm the best and Tiger feels like he's the best. It's really a hard one for me to come up here and say.
“Tiger has been the best player in the world for the last 15 years. Just that people that are mentioning my name with the likes of him is a huge compliment.''