Garcia Tries Major Shift in Attitude
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Upon his arrival at Augusta National Golf Club this week, Sergio Garcia had the car stopped, got out and snapped a photo of Magnolia Lane and the 61 trees that line the entrance to the clubhouse.
A short time later, he uploaded the photo to his Facebook page.
"Always a special place," Garcia noted on Twitter to alert people to the page.
Last year, he wasn't so reverent. When Garcia drove away from Magnolia Lane for the last time after the conclusion of the 2009 Masters, the Spaniard was in a huff after firing 75-74 on the weekend to finish in a tie for 38th.
"I don't like it, to tell you the truth," Garcia said, just before departing, of one of the most revered golf courses in the world. "I don't think it is fair. Even when it's dry, you still get mud balls in the middle of the fairway. It's too much of a guessing game." When asked what should be done, Garcia added, "They can do whatever they want. It's not my problem. I just come here and play and then go home."
When he got home, Garcia quickly issued an apology. The outburst, one of many that have come to define him as much as his play on the golf course, lingered. He's gone out of his way to apologize to the members, some of them he knows very well. And regretful of another immature impulse, Garcia said he was focused on recapturing the joy he experienced when he first came to Augusta National as a 19-year-old amateur in 1999. Channeling those emotions when he was a freewheeling sort with a big grin, Garcia, 30, has brought a new approach with him this year.
"I am the way I am - and I think that's one of the things people like about me," Garcia said Tuesday sitting on a bench in the shade by the clubhouse. "I speak my mind, and sometimes I should think a little bit more before I speak. I try to be sincere; I try to say what I am feeling. But sometimes, unfortunately, it gets me in trouble.
"We all make mistakes, and I made mine last year. I apologized for it right away. The Masters is always a special event. It's a wonderful golf course. There is no other place like this. The history, the course, the crowds, even how they cut the fairways - it's just different. I'm just hoping I can get going in a good way."
At Augusta, he's rarely got it going. The winner of 19 tournaments worldwide, including the 2008 Players Championship, has 15 top-10 finishes in majors, including nine top-fives. Two top-10s have come at Augusta, where he also has missed four cuts.
"I felt a little bit in the past I played better than I scored almost every year," he said. "But that's what majors do to you. Sometimes you play great and you don't get anything out of it.
"I'm not going to lie to you. I don't feel like I'm ready to win. But I feel my game is starting to come along and I'm starting to see a few good things coming around. The vibes are good. I like being here."