These are tough times for Sergio Garcia. It has been three weeks since he lipped out on a 10-footer on the final hole to win the British Open, and on the eve of the PGA Championship he was required, once again, to deal with the fallout from Carnoustie.
It is a painful ordeal by fire — well, press conference — that Phil Mickelson, formerly known as the Best Player Never To Win A Major, knows only too well.
“The hardest thing was coming in here,” Mickelson said. “Answering questions about it can be difficult. I felt like that no matter how well thought out or nice the questions were, there was no good answer. No matter which way you went with it, it was always going to come back to bite you. So the toughest part was trying to answer them honestly, and I always felt they were kind of loaded even though they were not meant to be.”
Garcia left Scotland in a huff, whining about his lack of luck, unseen forces conspiring against him, even about the guy raking the bunkers. He arrived in Tulsa, Okla., offering no regrets.
“Yeah, I was emotional,” he said. “I opened myself up to you guys and said what I felt. It’s just a matter of how you take it. That’s pretty much it.”
Garcia said he is sticking with his belly putter, which got him to the brink of claiming that elusive first major at Carnoustie. He said he had no fear of finding himself in the same situation this week at Southern Hills.
“I was the only one who had a winning putt in regulation at Carnoustie, and that means a lot,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately it didn’t go in. I just hope I have the winning putt here. And, you know, whatever happens, at least if I am in that position, I’ll be pretty happy with it.”
Garcia’s comments were similar to what Mickelson used to say before winning the 2004 Masters: That he had no doubt he would eventually win a major, and the only thing he could do was keep believing and putting himself in contention and it would happen eventually.
But would Garcia really fancy the pressure of another 10-footer to win on Sunday afternoon with all that happened at Carnoustie still fresh in his mind?
“You know, right now, I would take leading the tournament by one shot on the 18th hole,” he said. “But I’d rather be ahead by eight.”