IS THIS SERGIO’S YEAR?
Sergio Garcia. Just the name brings about strong opinions, from golf and sports fans alike, concerning amazing skill, on-course behavior, and career potential . . . either squandered, or still ahead of him.
Throughout his career, Sergio Garcia has posted great numbers, and lets be honest, has made a lot of money. However, if you judge Sergio by the money list alone, you’re making a mistake. He is one of the special players of our generation who has been held (rightly) to a higher standard based on his amazing talent and potential, which was first displayed to the world in the 1999 PGA Championship, with his now famous shot from the base of a tree at Medinah.
SERGIO’S TROUBLED PAST
In a “catch 22” reality, it is this higher standard of expectation, which brings about worldwide attention, which at times, can bring both praise and criticism. This has caused Sergio’s “fan” base to be comprised of both strong supporters and committed haters. Garcia hasn’t exactly helped himself either, with displays of repugnant and childish behavior throughout his career. His spitting into the cup in 2007, and his most recent “fried chicken” comments (in reference to Tiger in May of 2013), were two of the lowest moments. He has since apologized and accepted responsibility for both actions, but at times, he can still leave you wondering, “What is up with this guy?”
SERGIO’S NEW ATTITUDE
A new day has dawned however, and Sergio seems to have made a turn (of sorts) in the one thing always seeming to get in the way of his enormous talent – his attitude. When you read recent magazine interviews or watch him speak on television, there seems to be a genuine uptick in his attitude. He’s almost positive about life and golf! Gone are the mannerisms and body language of, “something bad is coming … just wait.” In the past, Garcia’s public comments even revealed, that somewhere deep inside, he believed the world, and fate, were somehow ganged up against him.
The most telling and positive signs of Garcia’s new attitude were on display during his post round interview on Day 1 of the recent Thailand Golf Championship. In a post round interview, Sergio seemed to be finally understanding (and accepting), the golf course he plays, is the same golf course everyone plays. That everyone gets good, and bad breaks, and it’s how you – yourself – deal with those breaks, which makes you successful. This new change in attitude is refreshing to see from Sergio and is exactly what many of his long-time supporters have been hoping for.
In my opinion, with a new attitude and obvious talent in place, watch out for Sergio Garcia this year! Looking at the numbers, I believe Sergio Garcia is also perfectly on track to win the first major of his career very soon. His 2013 stats show impressive strengths and lead you to look for a great year in 2014.
-291.0 yards off the tee (64th on tour)
-67.46% Greens in Regulation (29th on tour)
-Strokes Gained Putting (8th on tour)
-69.583 Scoring Average (6th on tour)
-All-Around Ranking (9th on tour)
With his new attitude and renewed focus on golf, I believe this is the new Sergio, Sergio 2.0 (as it were). I have always been a fan of his talent and hope Sergio’s evolving positive and mature attitude stays “on plane” like the rest of his talented golf game. If it does, all the “squandered potential” discussions will quickly fade into the distance.
Editor’s Note: Keith’s opinion piece was sent 3-days prior to Sergio’s impressive win at the Thailand Golf Championship. To my knowledge, Keith is not a fortuneteller, but fortune telling comes from keen observation and calculated hunches based on empirical knowledge–and Keith does his homework.
BIO: Keith Cook is a contributing editor for localgolfer.com. His career highlights include rounds in nearly every US state and numerous countries throughout the world. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumni living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.
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