My U.S. Open pick, Sergio Garcia, is in for a tough week at New York's Bethpage Black
Tiger Woods or Bethpage Black’s rowdy fan base? Both stand to be equally formidable opponents for my U.S. Open pick (and my pick to win every single major championship until he finally gets one): Sergio Garcia.
In 2002, Garcia was the main antagonist of the New York galleries (who’s etiquette was so bad it may have been considered off-color at an after-hours cock fight in Hoboken). It all helped aid the global sentiment of Americans at the time as being classless, vulgar imbeciles.
So not only does Garcia enter the U.S. Open with a golf game not in form and an invincible Tiger Woods poised to destroy the field - but he’ll be center stage in a most raucous colosseum. Many of the fans who come through the turnstiles this week won’t even know why they’re supposed to heckle Garcia. They’ll just know they should.
Garcia’s waggling, which caused the start of the heckling (later fueled by comments directed towards Tiger Woods) is under control now, but it would be foolish to expect courteous galleries. Hecklers crave pop culture fodder to feed off of, and Garcia has dished up plenty in recent memory:
For starters, there’s his “whiny” comments about Augusta National (forgive a guy for speaking his mind fresh off a frustrating round) following his disappointing finish. I can see the term “mud balls” being used out of context outside the ropes this week.
Last fall, his sterling Ryder Cup record went awry, capped with a singles loss to Anthony Kim. Garcia is sure to be reminded of that once or twice.
Then, there is the little nugget about how Garcia admits his breakup with Greg Norman’s daughter was partially responsible for his 2009 woes. If only Garcia had dated the daughter of a player with less infamous major gaffes, they may have spared him on that one.
Then again, no tough-nosed New Yorker is going to go easy on a guy who admits heartbreak is hurting his ability to perform his job.
Nothing seems to be set up for Garcia this week in his favor, which is sometimes precisely the right time to get out of a funk - when expectations are at their lowest and the pressure is low. Prior to his PLAYERS Championship win last year, doubts about his putter and his ability to close down the stretch were at an all-time high, to which he silenced them - at least until the next major.
I for one, am not expecting Garcia to just show up, play his two rounds and get out of dodge. Great players look forward to hostile environments, and I look for Sergio to bring his best this week.
Call me a sucker for the best story, and this would easily be it.
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It would be awesome and exciting to see Sergio get it together and play well at the Black. I'm going be there Fri-Sun and I'm counting on having him there all three days.