This Week at WorldGolf.com: August 16, 2006
Tiger and Sergio: The rivalry that never was
It was 1999. I was a pesky teenager with aspirations of a weekend without curfews and a car with a CD player. But one Sunday afternoon, a 19-year old's fearless Sunday round capped by an inconceivable shot captivated me and put a wrinkle in the future of golf.
Sergio Garcia's hard stab from behind a tree on the 16th hole of the '99 PGA Championship was the greatest golf shot I've ever seen. Nothing short of perfect execution and Sergio is in the hospital, the ball up his nostril. There's only one other human capable of hitting that shot - Tiger Woods - and the golf world assured us the two would supply us with epic battles for the ages in the coming decades ...
Fade to gray ...
Since those days I've aged, terribly. I'm no longer asked for an I.D. at R-rated movies and must take a razor to my stubble almost tri-weekly. The old pothole on Fourth Avenue keeps getting bigger and I'm left a mere fuzzy memory of the once proclaimed Tiger/Sergio rivalry we were all promised for the coming decades.
"The 1999 PGA Championship ..." I grumble to myself, slumped in my porch's rocking chair as ominous clouds loom over the horizon. "Those were the 'good ole days' ..."
Cut to present ... .
Today, Garcia is ninth in the world rankings but hasn't won a major. Woods meanwhile, remains cemented at no. 1. His rivals remain Jack, Gene and Byron.
But just a few weeks ago, a sign! Garcia was on Tiger's tail at Royal Hoylake. It was a dream Sunday final pairing that was over before it began. Europe's best chance at ending America's domination of their Open soiled himself for the world to see, intimidated by Tiger more than he'd been as a teenager, too ignorant to fear.
This week, the PGA Championship returns to Medinah. But maybe it's finally time for the tabled rivalry's fruition. After winning the British Open and the Buick Invitational, Woods appears invincible - the perfect time for Sergio - seemingly wounded after Hoylake - to steal Woods' 12th major and claim his first. Then next month, take him down in a head-to-head duel in the Ryder Cup Matches.
Ah, chills my aching bones just thinkin' about it.
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