By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Sergio Garcia was extremely gracious and at times, positively philosophical, after squandering a two-stroke advantage to Nick Watney at The Barclays on Sunday.
Granted, the Spaniard was disappointed with the 75 he shot on the treacherous Black Course at Bethpage State Park that snapped a string of seven straight rounds in the 60s and cost him a shot at a second consecutive PGA TOUR win.
But Garcia fielded each question in his press conference with candor and good humor, obviously relaxed and content with the state of his game.
Someone wondered, for example, if he had thought about what might have happened had he made that 6-footer for a birdie at the fourth hole or the 10-footer at No. 7. But the 32-year-old veteran, who did birdie No. 6 and was still clinging to the lead at the holes in question, refused to revisit the past.
"You know, obviously MetLife is the only one that has the ifs in life," a grinning Garcia said, alluding to the slogan of the insurance giant that sponsors the blimp hovering in the sky. “We don't go with ifs here: If this would have gone in; if I would have hit a better shot on 8, you never know. It's still 10 under there. There's so many ifs that you could say about."
The truth is, Garcia, who had broken a four-year victory drought on Monday, just didn't feel as comfortable as he had in the first three rounds.
Garcia had trouble reading the greens that looked as baked as
they had been Saturday but with overnight water weren't as fast. He
hit the wrong shot at the wrong time, too – like the one into
a bunker and the next that skidded through the green at the par-3
eighth, contributing to the first of a pair of two-shot swings.
"Yesterday, I felt really, really at ease," Garcia said. "I felt really, really calm. I didn't feel nervous at all. Today I was a little bit jumpy. I could feel that I wasn't quite there. So that doesn't mean that I didn't try as hard as I could, and at the end of the day, there can only be one winner, and Nick obviously deserved the win more than I did.'
Still, Garcia couldn't be too disappointed with the way he performed over the last two weeks. And with his tie for third, the ebullient Spaniard has now posted three top-10s on an extremely stern test in the Black Course, two of which came in U.S. Opens.
"It's been two very good weeks," Garcia said. "Obviously I would loved to finish in a different way. But to me, to be able to win last week and put myself in contention here again this week, I had a good shot at winning this tournament on this golf course, which is really, really tough and is testing you all the time. It was good.
"I would have loved to do a little bit better, but you know, there's always things that you can improve on, and you know, that's what I want to try to do."
Garcia, who played his way onto the European Ryder Cup team with the win at the Wyndham Championship six days ago, plans to take this week off. Obviously, he risks losing ground in the FedExCup by not playing at the Deutsche Bank Championship, but Garcia, who has played four straight weeks -- including two handling the pressure of contention -- wants to be rested for the stretch run.
"I think it's great," Garcia said when asked about the momentum
he’s gained over the last two weeks. "I think it's been a
great way to kind of start finishing the year here in the U.S., it
obviously gives me a lot of confidence. I still have a couple more
weeks hopefully with Indianapolis and TOUR Championship.
"So hopefully I'll be able to play well there, too, and then have a strong Ryder Cup for my team, for The European Team, and then I'll take a nice rest that I'll need.”