Sergio WILL NOT win 2007 Masters
There must be something in the air, deep in the jungle where my esteemed colleague Bill Wolfrum lives. How else to explain the unexplainable: He is taking Sergio Garcia to go all the way at this year’s Masters, which begin today.
Are you kidding me? At his best, Garcia comes to the front door of major championships and gives a few knocks, usually before beating a hasty retreat that sometimes, if not always, is fueled by some marvelous meltdown. Yes he tied for third at last year’s PGA. Yes he tied for fifth at last year’s British Open. But this is a player who has had “the most promise in golf” for 10 years now, and he still can’t win - at least not often.
The Masters is not the tournament to finally figure out a way to combine your shot-making with a new-found mental toughness. That combination has to be well established, that mental toughness has to be deeply entrenched long before strolling down Magnolia Lane (which is why the spitting incident, however trifling, matters). You don’t figure things out at Augusta - you bring your A game, or you fly home after Friday.
Will Sergio be a presence? Well, he’s arguably the second biggest gallery draw in golf, so of course he’ll be a presence. He might even knock on that door. But no one wearing a green jacket will be answering.
Speaking of knocking, there is a lot of talk in Europe about which European Tour player has the best chance of breaking through at Augusta (for the record, no one over here is talking about Sergio). You got to figure Colin Montgomerie will be knocking too. He always does in majors, and unlike some, he is usually there on Sunday, still standing at the front door. He won’t win (though I’d love to see him win), but he’ll be in the hunt.
Australian Adam Scott’s got a lot of momentum, having won last week at the Shell Houston Open. Swede Henrik Stenson is having a great season, and is on top of the European Tour Order of Merit.
Of course, these are outside bets at best. But you got to figure into things two other players. First, Englishmen Paul Casey. Yeah, Sergio’s having a decent ‘07, but Casey is a much better bet: He took three big titles in ‘06 - the Jonhnie Walker Championship, the HSBC World Match Play Championship and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship - on his way to becoming the European Tour’s Player of the Year and cracking the world’s top 15.
And he’s paired with Tiger Woods today, and he has said how much he feeds off playing with the world’s No. 1.
The last European Tour player to win at Augusta was José Maria Olazábal, who took home his second green jacket in 1999.
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Awesome in the Ryder cup, draws the ire of US fans, and can't win a major?
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