Chris Baldwin This Week at WorldGolf.com: May 10, 2005

Remember when Sergio Garcia was being touted as Tiger Woods' No. 1 rival?

That image is growing fuzzier and fuzzier in the wake of Garcia going Greg Norman on us at the Wachovia Championship over the weekend.

Garcia put on a clinic of the fragile mental game that's made the Spaniard with the sensational tools a stunning PGA Tour disappointment. He blew a six-shot lead going into the final round of the Wachovia.

Six shots. The last time that's been done Greg Norman was crumbling at the 1996 Masters.

But at least, that's the Masters. It is one thing to choke with the green jacket on the line and Jim Nantz breaking into his soothing, soft, Butler Cabin-worshipping tones. It is quite another to do it at Quail Hollow in Charlotte on the second weekend in May. Even Phil Mickelson, the modern-day heir to Norman, saves his gag reflex for the most pressurized tournaments. Or when he's playing Tiger head to head.

Not Sergio. He can flop anytime, anywhere. He makes Norman and Mickelson look like Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.

It couldn't be happening to a nicer guy, by all reports. U.S. Open volunteers at Shinnecock last summer gushed over how polite and engaging Garcia was with "the nobodies" most players ignore. On a trip to Canada, two different British Columbia pros volunteered Garcia good-guy tributes. In fact, these particular Canadians seemed more crushed by Garcia's meltdown than uplifted by native son Steve Nash's historic NBA MVP.

Sergio Garcia is the anti Vijay Singh, the tour's resident Barry Bonds jerk posing as a misunderstood workaholic.

It's easy to root for Sergio. Harder and harder to believe in him.

It's about time to drop that Sergio's-still-young rationale/excuse as well. The once fresh-faced kid's 25 now and he's been playing golf since he was three. At a certain point, the mental makeup of your game and the path of your career is set in motion. And Garcia's on a headfirst track to being an all-time disappointment.

If you're a Sergio fan, at least all's not lost. You can always check out the number of extraordinary courses in his homeland at WorldGolf.com. As always we look forward to your comments, including Sergio Garcia's run from phenom to mental midget. All by 25.

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Phone CallsTen ways to be a lousy golf partner

Want to ensure you're never invited to play with the gals? Want to really annoy your golfing buddies? Jennifer Mario offers some sure-fire methods to become the person no one wants to be paired with. Among her tips: Be late (the suspense only adds to the fun), be loud (keep your cell phone with you and use it at will), and be cheap (never carry small bills; this way you can bow out of tips).
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