Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sadly, a bitter ending for Sergio

Late Sunday evening, the sound of Irishmen singing – someone suggested they’d had a few pints – could still be heard at the Carnoustie Golf Links after Padraig Harrington won a British Open that had been a long time coming.

It was worth singing about.

Let’s take a moment here to appreciate Harrington. He’s an exceptional player who’s not spectacular at anything other than getting the ball in the hole. That’s a nice skill to have when you’re in the business of major championship golf.

He’s a tireless worker who’s come close enough times in majors to know how wickedly difficult it is to win one of these things.

Harrington is also immensely popular with players on both the PGA and European Tours because he’s a good guy who works hard, tells you what he’s thinking and goes about it the right way.

Even Sergio Garcia had to be happy Harrington won.

At least you hope so.

Garcia is a strange case. He’s a terrific player who has seemingly everything going for him except for a putter, that occasionally sticks needles in his eyes, and an attitude that works against him.

After his playoff loss to Harrington Sunday, Garcia played the woe is me card, citing all the ways the world is out to get him.

When he hits the flagstick, like he did on the second playoff hole, his ball always bounces away from the hole instead of landing beside the cup. He never gets any good breaks. The guy raking the bunkers at No. 18 took too long. Blah, blah, blah.

Come on, Sergio.

It’s easy to understand his frustration and that’s great. If he didn’t care he wouldn’t be where he is. Sergio’s passion is who he is.

He played terrific golf for three days and when he got wobbly, Sergio pulled it together in the pressure of Sunday afternoon and made you admire his toughness getting to a playoff.

When he lost, though, he started blaming fate. But fate didn’t shoot 38 on the front nine or plug his approach shot in the bunker on the first playoff hole.

It was a bitter way to go, for sure, after such a good week.

Maybe Garcia didn’t hear the Irishmen singing Sunday evening. He wouldn’t have liked the tune.