Souhan: Sergio Garcia could take attitude lesson from 14-year-old

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 12, 2013 - 12:14 AM

Golf has hardened Sergio Garcia. Hopefully, young Guan Tianlang won’t take the same path.

– It was hard to pick the more compelling story during the first round of the Masters — the brilliant play of the immature golfer, or that of the 14-year-old.

A year after saying he would never be able to win a major, Sergio Garcia for the first time in 49 tries at the Masters finished a round in the lead. He shot a 66, tying him for first with Australian Marc Leishman, on a day when 14-year-old Guan Tianlang shot a 73 and impressed Ben Crenshaw with his gamesmanship and touch.

Guan, the youngest player in Masters history by more than two years, said he’d like to win all four majors in one year. The 33-year-old Garcia last year said he’d never win one: “I have run out of options; I’m not good enough for the majors. I will try to be second or third.”

Garcia once was known as the best golfer to never win a major. Thursday, he became the best golfer to claim he never said he could never win a major.

“Well, I mean, those were my words,” he said. “But I think at the end of the day we go through moments, tough moments, and frustrating moments, and I know that was one of them. Obviously maybe I didn’t say it the right way, because it was one of those frustrating moments.”

He’s had a few. Garcia finished second to Tiger Woods in the 1999 PGA Championship, presenting himself as a potential rival to Woods for decades to come. While Woods surged to 14 career majors, Garcia became known for spitting in the cup after missing a putt in 2007, blowing a four-shot lead at the 2007 British Open and losing in a playoff to Padraig Harrington, then blaming golf gods for his failures.

“I’m playing against a lot of guys out there, more than the field,” he said then.

He signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified during the 2007 PGA Championship, and blew another lead to Harrington at the 2008 PGA. He has taken breaks from the game, most notably when he skipped the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Thursday, he displayed his new putting grip, the “paintbrush,” in which he propels the club with the inside of his right index finger and thumb. He made four birdies on the front nine and finished the round without a bogey, an incongruous performance for a player plagued by crucial mistakes who has admitted his loathing for Augusta National.

“Obviously it’s not my favorite place,” he said.

Guan might consider that sacrilege. The eighth-grader from China played a practice round with Woods, then looked comfortable playing alongside Crenshaw on Thursday. He birdied from just off the 18th green to turn in a better score than Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Nick Watney and Crenshaw, as his mother followed him with snacks.

After speaking in the interview room, Guan left with Masters officials, chewing on a free ham sandwich, as his parents promised he wouldn’t have to do homework because of his early tee time on Friday.

“He played about four of the most beautiful, delicate chips you’ve ever seen,” Crenshaw said. “It must help to have 14-year-old nerves. I’m telling you, he played like a veteran today.”

Garcia’s history suggests he will fold this weekend, but this tournament has proved unpredictable the last seven years. Garcia is more than talented enough to win. But does he know that?

“Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “I still welcome it, there’s no doubt. It’s very difficult to play the Masters, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to do it for some years now.”

Garcia was supposed to become a latter-day Seve Ballesteros, a Spaniard with magic in his hands. Ballesteros won the Masters twice. Garcia hasn’t finished in the top 10 at Augusta since 2004. In his previous eight rounds in majors, he was 21 over par.

The last player to shoot a 66 in the first round and win the Masters was Ballesteros, in 1980.

  • related content

  • Masters second-round tee times

    Thursday April 11, 2013

    8 am: John Merrick, Thorbjorn Olesen, D.A. Points7:11 am: Craig Stadler, Ben Curtis, a-Michael Weaver7:22 am: Mark O’Meara, Martin Laird,...

  • Amateur Guan Tianlang, of China, celebrates after a birdie putt on the...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 106 FINAL
Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
Indiana 94
Portland 110 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Orlando 83
Oklahoma City 108 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Denver 92
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Florida 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Anaheim 3 3rd Prd 3:31
Dallas 1
St. Louis 2 2nd Prd 19:12
Vancouver 2
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 66 FINAL
Wake Forest 69
Oregon 73 FINAL
Stanford 70
Purdue 61 FINAL
Ohio State 65
Arizona State 74 2nd Half 2:26
Colorado 75
Washington St 36 2nd Half 18:59
UCLA 32
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 FINAL
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close