Thoughts on the 2007 British Open
Or, Why Pro Athletes Are Crybabies
I have never liked Sergio Garcia.
Ever since I was introduced to him several years ago while watching pro golf’s Ryder Cup tournament (US vs. Europe, aka “US vs. Everyone Else”), I have disliked this kid. Arrogant, pampered, self-centered brat. A clear picture of what was wrong with Europe today. Nothing like the European golfers of yesteryear. Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam anyone? Compared to the golfers I grew up watching, Sergio Garcia is not a class act.
Well, that dislike turned into a good, clean sports “hate” after watching him throw away a 4-shot lead in the final round of the 2007 British Open. Don’t get me wrong. I was actually rooting for Sergio to win. Since Phil Mickelson won the Masters a couple years back, Sergio is the inheritor of that monkey-on-the-back label, “the best golfer to never win a major tournament.” I don’t like that label. I feel it is patently unfair. But after his comments in the interview room following his Sunday collapse, I hope he carries that label to his retirement.
You see, Sergio Garcia is nothing but a whining crybaby.
I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, pro athletes these days blame everyone but themselves when they perform poorly or get upstaged by a better opponent. But golf is supposed to be different. Golf is the “gentleman’s game.” One where honor and integrity is expected of its competitors. Especially in Scotland, the cradle of the sport and home of the most hallowed golf tournament in the world.
But no, Sergio Garcia decided to be a whining crybaby.
On the course that – the last time the British Open was held there – caused Sergio to cry in his mother’s arms, Sergio blamed everyone and everything but himself for his collapse. He even got a break when his closest opponent double-bogeyed the final hole to all but guarantee Sergio a win. But that wasn’t enough for poor Sergio. Break out the pacifier.
Sergio complained about having to wait 15 minutes to hit his second shot on the final hole. This from a guy who is notorious for taking forever just to hit his own shots. Sergio complained about his tee shot hitting the pin during the 4-hole playoff after his collapse. Most golfers would be delighted that they actually hit the pin. Needless to say, Sergio got par on that hole, so what is he complaining about? Sergio complained that he “rarely gets good breaks.” Excuse me? Let’s recap a smidgen:
Sergio started the day with a 3-shot lead, after outdistancing the field and seeing everyone around him wither with untimely bogeys. Then he himself played a worthless round of golf, and then got a huge break when Padraig Harrington double bogeyed the 18th to give Sergio the lead back. All he had to do was par the final hole and he was a British Open champion. But no, that wasn’t good enough for poor Sergio. He had to turn it into an opportunity to be a whining crybaby.
“I’m playing against a lot of guys out there, more than the field,” he said. “It’s tough, mainly because I don’t feel I did do anything wrong.”
Um, Sergio. Did you see the same final hole and playoff that the rest of us did? You choked. Big time.
“It seems to me like every time I get in this kind of position, I have no room for error. … And I rarely get many good breaks.”
Yeah, Sergio, play a song for me.
Instead of being the sore loser you and some of your European Tour pals tend to be, you could (and should) take lessons from Tiger Woods, the guy who’s beaten you almost every time you’ve matched up, especially in majors. Speaking of his own failure to deliver, Tiger very simply said this: “I wasn’t as sharp as I needed to be.” Whatever you may think about Tiger Woods, Tiger is a class act. It’s just too bad Sergio hasn’t learned from his example.
And until he does, Sergio Garcia is nothing but a whining crybaby.