To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here.
2013 PREVIEW: Sergio Garcia's enthusiasm for the game returned in a big way last year as he won the Wyndham Championship -- breaking a victory drought of more than four years -- and nearly captured The Barclays the following week. Seeing him contend again in majors next year would be a boost not only for the Spaniard but for the game.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Three years after owning a share of the lead entering the final round of the Wyndham Championship only to miss the playoff, Garia converted his one-stroke advantage at Sedgefield into his eighth PGA TOUR win. Garcia closed with a 66 to beat Tim clark by two strokes -- and lock up his spot on the European Ryder Cup team in the process. The win moved Garcia from 102nd to 33rd in the FedExCup and he went on to finish 17th. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Garcia is my Comeback Player of the Year. I never thought his putting could improve so dramatically. I have a theory that good putters are happy people and Sergio seems to be smiling more both on and off the course. Improving from 144th to 26th in strokes gained-putting will put a smile on anyone's face. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: In a vacuum, he's barely a cornerstone before you fill out your roster with starts, cuts made and Americans. But he's Sergio. His cachet precedes him. You must remain patient. Consider that he barely reaches the membership minimum in starts and has posted just 10 top-10s over the last four years. He's unbuyable at $2.51 million in salary leagues, too. The lesson is clear. If you're going to invest, you must surround him with guys that are going to increase your number of starts as a team. If you've loaded up early in your draft, then consider taking a nibble. Just stick to the plan. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking 33rd
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||1st||Wyndham Championship|
|By the Numbers Starts: 16
Cuts made: 14
Rounds played: 56
Top-10 finishes: 3
Money List rank: 29th
|TOUR ranking Driving distance: 64th
Driving accuracy: 98th
Greens in regulation: 99th
Strokes gained-putting: 26th
Scoring average: 17th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN What is your prediction for Sergio Garcia in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal and one of his charges, Sergio Garcia, made their second trips to Madrid's Palace de la Zarzuela on Tuesday. This time, though, the two Spaniard brought the Ryder Cup to their audience with King Juan Carlos I.
Olazabal, Garcia and vice captain Miguel Angel Jimenez also gave the King a signed shirt worn that Sunday at Medinah Country Club as the Europeans equaled the largest comeback in history as they stormed from four points behind to win the biennial competition.
“He made us feel very comfortable and at ease and it’s been a very nice conversation,” Olazábal told europeantour.com. “He said he was very pleased with the polo shirt from that famous Sunday which is history now and said he wanted it in his trophy cabinet. He said he watched a lot on TV but could not watch it entirely but he has asked us to send him the DVD which we will do.”
Olazabal made his first visit to the palace in 1994 with his family after the World Golf Hall of Famer won the Masters for the first time. He said he was honored to represent a team this time, and Olazabal said King Juan Carlos "touched my heart" when he mentioned the late Seve Ballesteros, perhaps Europe's greatest Ryder Cup player.
"He also talked about the performance of the Spanish players in The Ryder Cup, especially the passion we have put into the event," Olazabal said. "He was very knowledgeable.”
Olazábal later talked to reporters about some of the highlights of the match -- particularly the way Ian Poulter finished off his Four-ball match with Rory McIlroy, making birdie on the last five holes to earn a pivotal point for the Europeans.
“What Poulter did, especially on the Saturday, changed the heart of the rest of team,” Olazabal said. “When we got together on Saturday evening I could see on their faces there was a different look. There was a totally different atmosphere which was the key to the victory the following day.
“Then on Sunday there were so many emotions. Sergio recovering his match and winning that point was essential and then when Martin Kaymer holed that putt he closed the door to the American team."
Garcia, who teamed with Luke Donald on Saturday to beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, was similarly impressed.
“Ian Poulter was amazing,” Garcia said. “He knows the meaning of The Ryder Cup and he lives for the Ryder Cup. It’s fantastic to have someone like him in the team, someone who can make the spirit turn at the right moment. If I had to choose one moment of the Ryder Cup it is quite difficult as there were so many highlights. But the last two points on Saturday were essential. Poulter’s putt on the 18th that evening and also Luke Donald’s tee shot on the 17th.
"But I still cannot shake from my mind Justin Rose’s putt on the 17th on Sunday, and finally Martin Kaymer’s putt was incredible."
Garcia said he and Olazabal talked with Kaymer, who had struggled with his revamped game and only played in one team match, on Saturday night. Kaymer and Garcia had breakfast together prior to the Singles, as well.
"I said to him if I had a wish, it would be for him to hole the putt which meant Europe won the Ryder Cup, and, of course, Martin did exactly that,” Garcia recalled.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. -- The last time Sergio Garcia was part of a Ryder Cup he had just taken a sabbatical from the game. He didn't qualify for a sixth straight European Team, though; Colin Montgomerie made him a late addition to the side as a vice captain.
On Wednesday, Garcia called it a difficult, but good week at Celtic Manor.
"We achieved what we wanted to achieve that week," said Europe's ultimate team player. "So it was very positive. But by the same time, I'd rather be on this side than on the other one."
Garcia will undoubtedly be calling the shots for Europe one day down the road like his fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal. But the 32-year-old likely has many more shots to hit first -- and the motivation he found in Wales was part of a resurgence that saw him win twice on the European Tour last year and break a four-year PGA TOUR victory drought at the Wyndham Championship last month.
"It was definitely a little bit of an inspiration to see your teammates playing and you not really being able to do much," Garcia said. "So it definitely helped. And, you know, I hope that it was one of the reasons why I'm here now."
Garcia brings a stellar 14-6-4 Ryder Cup record with him to Medinah. He's undefeated in nine Foursomes matches with four of those wins coming alongside Luke Donald and three in partnership with Lee Westwood -- both of whom are on the European Ryder Cup team again this year.
"I've managed to gel nicely with the partners I've had," Garcia said. "We've played well together. We've been comfortable together. So you know, it's not a big secret about it I would say. I think it's just kind of that, and being able to play well at the right moments.
And the way Garcia sees it, those "moments" are key.
"I think at the end of the day, we all know what Ryder Cups are all about," he said. "It's the moment; it's what happens out there, and any given day, anybody can beat anyone. So you know, it's nice to have a strong team like the one we have, but you know, it just comes down to playing well, to some key moments in some matches, and trying to make a difference there."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
With Europe having won four of the last five Ryder Cups, it begs the question: Just w hy has Europe won four of the last five Ryder Cups?
Ian Poulter isn’t really sure why Europe has been so dominant, but the Englishman has his theories.
“We’re all very comfortable with each other in the team room and as people and personalities,” Poulter said.
That’s not to suggest the U.S. team isn’t, but there is a certain “edge,” as Poulter puts it, Europe has in attitude toward the biennial matches.
“It’s not that we don’t like each other,” Poulter said. “But there’s something about the Ryder Cup; boy do you want to kill them in the Ryder Cup. It’s passion like I’ve never seen before.”
With that in mind, here’s a closer look at who I think are the five best match-play performers from either side going into this year’s matches. You’ll notice there’s a decidedly European theme, which perhaps best explains why Europe has beaten the U.S. more often than not of late.
Sergio Garcia (Europe): The Spaniard lives for the Ryder Cup and it has shown in the form of a 14-6-4 record in five appearances. Three times Garcia has helped lead Europe to victory, including in 2006 in the most lopsided victory ever when Europe crushed the U.S. 18 1/2 to 9 1/2. Garcia won his two Four-ball and two Foursome matches each of the first two days before finally losing to Stewart Cink in singles, but by then the outcome was well in hand. Garcia didn’t qualify for the last Ryder Cup, and he went 0-2-2 in 2008, so he’ll be plenty motivated this year. He’s also in a much better place mentally than in recent years and is one of the best drivers and ball-strikers in the game. His putter also seems to turn into some sort of magical sword every two years.
Ian Poulter (Europe): When it comes to the Ryder Cup, Poulter is golf’s version of former NBA sharpshooter and resident villain Reggie Miller. Both love showmanship and the big stage and usually play their best on it. Poulter is 8-3, including 3-0 in singles play, in three Ryder Cups. Poulter doesn’t really know why he’s been so successful in match play -- he also has two individual match play titles having won the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Volvo World Match Play Championship -- but his ball-striking and passion are two things than can wear an opponent down. Expect Poulter to have another big Ryder Cup this year.
Tiger Woods (U.S.): It’s hard to believe Woods has been on just one victorious Ryder Cup team in his career -- 1999 at Brookline (he missed 2008 due to injury). He’s also just 13-14-2 in six appearances in the biennial matches. His 14 matches lost ranks as the fourth-most in U.S. team history. That said, Woods is still one of the deadliest match play opponents on the planet, dating back to his days as an amateur when he won three consecutive U.S. Am titles. He also hasn’t lost a singles match in the Ryder Cup since his first year, 1997, and is 6-3 in his last three Ryder Cups. Woods is playing well right now, too, with three wins this season, and ranks seventh in total driving on the PGA TOUR, 19th in greens in regulation and fourth in birdie average. Those stats will go a long way at a Medinah course that will be tailored to the U.S. style of play. Lastly, a budding rivalry with Rory McIlroy seems to have spurred Woods.
Luke Donald (Europe): In three Ryder Cups, Donald is a stellar 8-2-1 and has never played on a losing team. He’s unbeaten in foursomes with a 6-0 mark and has only lost one singles match -- in 2004 at Oakland Hills in his first appearance. His form hasn’t been great this year, but he’s still one of the straightest players off the tee and an incredibly good putter. This year’s matches are also a home game for Donald, who lives in Chicago.
Brandt Snedeker (U.S.): I’m going out on a limb a bit here with Snedeker because others boast better resumes, he’s never played any sort of team match play his entire career and he’s a Ryder Cup rookie. But the latter is in name only and his resume this year has been impressive with victories in San Diego and Atlanta, not to mention the season-long FedExCup. What I like most, though, is that he is the best putter on either team and that can be completely demoralizing to an opponent in match play. At last week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Snedeker was first in putting, second in driving accuracy and seventh in greens in regulation. His game and personality can be paired with pretty much anyone and he’ll mesh well in the locker room. I think he’ll have the biggest impact of any rookie on either team.
What's your take? Discuss below.
The top 30 in FedExCup points are headed to East Lake for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Here’s a look at Sergio Garcia, one of the 30 players who will contend for the FedExCup title.
SCENARIOS TO WIN FEDEXCUP: For Garcia to win the FedExCup, he MUST win the TOUR Championship and have the following scenarios fall into place:
> Rory McIlroy (No. 1) finishes in a 3-way tie for 6th or worse
> Tiger Woods (No. 2) finishes T-4 or worse
> Nick Watney (No. 3) finishes in a 4-way tie for 2nd or worse
> Phil Mickelson (No. 4) finishes in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse
> Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) finishes T-2 or worse
Click here for scenarios of every player
SEASON IN REVIEW: Garcia ended a four-year PGA TOUR victory drought in a big way when he won the Wyndham Championship, the final event of the Regular Season, and played his way onto the European Ryder Cup team. The Spaniard nearly made it two-in-a-row, taking the lead into the final round of The Barclays only to be passed by Nick Watney and finish third. Garcia took the next week off and returned to the Playoffs to tie for 24th at the BMW Championship. -- Helen Ross
PATH TO TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Here’s a look at
Garcia's results in the first three events of the 2012 FedExCup
Click here for Playoffs Tracker of every player.
|FEC ranking after event||
PREVIOUS FEDEXCUP FINISHES: Here is how Garcia has finished in previous Playoffs appearances:
EAST LAKE HISTORY: This is Garcia's seventh start in the TOUR Championship, and his first since 2008, when he finished second. He also finished fourth in 2007 and tied for second in 2001.
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Fred Albers, on-course
correspondent for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, provides a quick look at
Still a curious decision to take a week off and skip Deutsche Bank when he was playing so well. Very few players improve their putting to the extent Garcia has this year. That's very impressive to me.
PLAYER PAGE: Click here for more on Sergio Garcia
Now it’s your turn. How do you think Garcia will fare at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola?
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Everyone knows that Robert Garrigus is crazy long throughout the bag. But the shortest club was key to landing a trip to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Garrigus and Ryan Moore were the only two players to enter the BMW Championship outside the top 30 in the FedExCup standings, then play their way inside at Crooked Stick. Only the top 30 advance to the Playoffs finale at East Lake.
A T4 finish at the BMW lifted Garrigus from 31st to 20th, and during the week he was 11th in strokes-gained putting and T4 in putts per round with an Odyssey White Ice 2-Ball V-Line putter that went into the bag just the week before at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Garrigus’ key round at Crooked Stick was a Saturday 66 that featured no bogeys and an eagle-birdie-birdie run from the 15th through 17th holes.
“I've been really comfortable with that putter, that new putter, and I just needed (Saturday) to see one go in, and I finally got the eagle putt to go in,” Garrigus said. “That was a big one. And then the next two putts on 16 and 17 were right in the jar…”
On Sunday, Garrigus clinched his finish with a 69 that included a four-birdie streak on the back nine, starting with this 60-foot bomb at the 13th.
The putter is a conventional-length model, which is also a twist for Garrigus. He famously putted for a while – and won – with a 28.5-inch putter that looked like something out of a junior’s bag. Earlier this year he went completely the other way with a Scotty Cameron Big Sur 46-inch long putter.
Now, 33 inches looks like the magic number.
“You know, I really decided to do something I've never done before, and that's go to a regular length putter,” Garrigus said. “If I could just stroke it under pressure the way I wanted to, it was going to be good because I've never tried it before. It's 33 inches, and it's rolling great.”
SERGIO’S STUFF: Sergio Garcia, heading to East Lake next week at 12th in the FedExCup standings, had two new TaylorMade ATV wedges made to refresh his arsenal. He had a 50-degree (bent to 51) and a 58-degree (bent to 56) made, then he came by the company’s truck at Crooked Stick to put the finishing touches on the wedges with a personal grind giving slight relief to the heel and toe.
BITS: Hunter Mahan switched from the Ping Nome mallet putter that he had success with earlier in the season to a more conventional heel-toe blade at the BMW. He’s moving on to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, one of three players (Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker) to qualify for the Playoffs finale in all six years of the FedExCup. … Nineteen of the 30 players at East Lake will play Titleist balls. … Argentina’s Tommy Cocha won the inaugural PGA TOUR Latinoamerica event with a Titleist bag of equipment and a ProV1x ball.
WINNER’S BAG: Rory McIlroy at the BMW
Driver: Titleist 913D3 (Mitsubishi Diamana proto 70X, 8.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 913Fd (13.5, 18 degrees)
Irons: Titleist MB (3-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (46, 54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: The best shots from The Barclays, Boeing Classic
What is the going at Bethpage Black on during the final round of The Barclays? Leave your response below … and please, keep it clean!
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – For the ninth time in his PGA TOUR career, Sergio Garcia enters the final round with at least a share of the lead.
He tees off at The Barclays in 50 minutes with a two-shot lead over playing partner Nick Watney. At last week’s Wyndham Championship, Garcia led by one stroke going into the final round and converted the advantage to win his eighth TOUR title.
Of the previous eight times he has led or shared the lead after 54 holes, Garcia has won three times (see chart below). Last week’s win was the first he had done so since 2004.
Do you think Garcia will maintain the lead and win the FedExCup opener on Sunday? Fill out the form below to join the discussion.
SERGIO WITH THE LEAD
|Year||Tournament||Garcia’s 54-hole position||Result|
|2001||The Barclays||1st, led by 2 strokes||Won|
|2004||HP Byron Nelson Championship||1st, led by 2 strokes||Won|
|2005||Wells Fargo Championship||1st, led by 6 strokes||Tied for 2nd|
|2006||Farmers Insurance Open||Tied for 1st||Tied for 8th|
|2007||British Open||1st, led by 3 strokes||2nd|
|2008||TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola||1st, led by 3 strokes||Lost in playoff|
|2009||Wyndham Championship||Tied for 1st||4th|
|2012||Wyndham Championship||1st, led by 2 strokes||Won|
|2012||The Barclays||1st, led by 2 strokes||??|
Following an third-round 69, Sergio Garcia reflects on his play in The Barclays with Fred Albers from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Sergio Garcia needed two less strokes than playing partner Nick Watney in Saturday's third round of The Barclays. But that difference in score might not accurately reflect which player had the better day.
"I think Nick played amazing," Garcia said. "... Probably better than me. I thought I was just a little bit more fortunate."
Whether it was fortune or just solid play, Garcia is in control after 54 holes of the FedExCup Playoffs opener. After shooting a 2-under 69 on Saturday, he's 10 under for the tournament and will take a two-shot lead over Watney heading into Sunday's final round at the Bethpage State Park Black Course.
For Garcia, this week has been a showcase for his ball-striking skills, just like it was last week when he won the Wyndham Championship. Through the first three rounds at Bethpage Black, Garcia is tied for second in the field in fairways hit (78.6 percent) and tied for fourth in greens in regulation (75.9 percent).
And outside of his three-putt bogey early in Saturday's round, Garcia managed to navigate the dry, firm greens without significant harm. In fact, his putting has been a key part of his rise to the top of the leaderboard -- he ranks third in the field in strokes-gained putting.
"At the end of the day, all you can do is try to trust the line you pick, and the speed you think it's going to be," Garcia said when asked his patience on the greens. "And then just hope that you are guessing it right.
"It is a little bit of a guessing game, you know, when the greens get like this."
Watney's only three-putt of the day came on the 18th hole. On the previous hole, the par-3 17th, he made the lone birdie of the day by any player in the field at that hole when he chipped in from the fringe. But he misjudge the slope of the 18th and was too aggressive with his birdie putt, running it 11 feet past the hole to finish with a bogey and an even-par 71.
It was a poor end to an otherwise solid putting day for Watney, who rolled in four putts from outside 15 feet.
Watney credited a Monday putting session (and a quick Saturday refresher) with Darrell Kestner, the Director of Golf at Deepdale Golf Club in nearby Manhassat, N.Y., for producing what he called his "best" putting week of the year.
"It's paid off huge," Watney said.
But he'll need to have that hot putter going in Sunday's final round ... and hope that Garcia doesn't run away from the field.
"I'm just going to, you know, just hang around," Watney said. "If Sergio goes out and shoots 4- or 5-under, you've just got to tip your hat. But I'm super-excited to be in the last group."
Garcia, meanwhile, would like nothing better than to capture his second straight tournament and move to the top of the FedExCup rankings.
"I just want to go out there and try to play the way I've been playing, try to believe in what I'm doing as much as I've been doing," Garcia said. "If I managed to win, that will be great. If I don't, it will still be great.
"I'll be giving it my best effort, so we'll see."
Sergio Garcia and Nick Watney are paired in the final group for Sunday’s final round of The Barclays. Their tee time is 1:40 p.m. ET.