Can Sergio find his form? The clock's ticking

Can Sergio find his form? The clock’s ticking

Much of Garcia’s struggles, he has said, have been mental, not mechanical. In March, his girlfriend, Morgan Leigh Norman, ended their relationship, leaving the golfer shell-shocked and unsure of himself. “That took a little bit of confidence out of me,” he says. “I didn’t feel much like playing golf.” From March until the middle of June, Garcia didn’t notch a top-10 finish in eight Tour starts, and he seemed to lack much of his trademark pep.
What’s most alarming about Garcia’s mini-slump is that sloppy driving and iron-play are as much to blame as his old nemesis — his putting. He’s hitting just 57 percent of his fairways (166th on Tour) and 65 percent of his greens in regulation (97th), a statistical category that he usually dominates. “My ballstriking has not been up to my standards,” Garcia says. His putting stroke hasn’t been much better, at least not statistically. He is averaging 1.78 putts per hole, 125th-best on Tour.
Meanwhile, Garcia has watched three first-time major winners prevail in 2009, including the unheralded Y.E. Yang, who trumped Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National. Yang’s upset came 10 years after Garcia’s boy-wonder performance at the 1999 PGA, which most golf observers predicted would be the first of many classic Garcia-Woods clashes. Instead, Garcia is still majorless. After rounds of 71-78 at Hazeltine, he packed his bags and hopped a plane to New York to spend the weekend with friends. “It’s a wonderful city,” Garcia says. “You see people walking around the streets, the shops, the bars, the cafes. To me, it feels like the most European city in the U.S.; it feels a lot like it is back in Spain.”
And now Garcia is back in the Big Apple, hoping to take a bite out of the Barclays. He appears a long way off the form he enjoyed this time last year when he finished second at the PGA and lost in a playoff at the Barclays two weeks later. But perhaps the buzz of New York will re-energize him, and help him refocus. "I’m thinking about what I want to do," Garcia says. "It’s just a matter of doing it." He better get cracking. With just four tournaments left in the 2009 season, the clock’s ticking.(Photo: Wire Image)