Sergio Garcia’s acceptance speech at the 2017 Masters showed the golf world a different, more mature side of the fiery Spaniard golfer. But that humility was not always the norm, according to three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.
Harrington told Irish radio RTÉ 2fm that he and Garcia had very different approaches to dealing with emotions on the golf course, particularly after Harrington defeated Garcia in a playoff at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie. Harrington won the four-hole playoff by one stroke (one of four runner-up finishes in a major for Garcia), and recalls Garcia being less than gracious about it.
“I gave him every out I possibly could at the 2007 Open,” said Harrington. “I was as polite as I could, and as generous as I could be. But he was a very sore loser, and he continued to be a very sore loser. So clearly after that, we had a very sticky wicket I’d say.”
In the decade since, Harrington and Garcia have played together on Ryder Cup teams and have gotten along better. But even then, Harrington said: “We say hello to each other every day we meet, but it’s with gritted teeth, there’s no doubt about it.”
Still, the Irishman was quick to reverse his take on watching his storied rival finally have his own major breakthrough.
“I was delighted to see the emotion on the 18th green,” Harrington said. “Anybody watching that has got to feel for him and see, maybe I’m a bit harsh in the fact that I look at it and say, ‘Well, everything comes easy to Sergio.’ But clearly, it hasn’t come easy to him. It really hasn’t. And you could see in that moment in time that, you know, he probably paid his dues.”
You can listen to the full interview with Harrington below.