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Sergio Garcia Is Coming to Philadelphia; Will You Boo?

Jun 7, 2013, 3:22 PM EDT

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We’re still a week away from the U.S. Open at Merion, and ESPN golf analyst and two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North has already committed Philly Sports Fan Cardinal Sin No. 1.

Golf can be kind of peculiar to non-followers. For example, prior to post-fire-hydrant Tiger Woods, the sport never really had a villain. Many would argue, given the overwhelming support Tiger continues to receive from galleries, that it still doesn’t. Everybody just sort of roots for everybody and good golf is more important in many cases than exactly who wins.

In their own way, these guys are all kind of fan favorites. …Except maybe for Sergio.

Garcia burst onto the scene in a duel with Woods at the 1999 PGA at Medinah. You may have seen this shot from the base of a tree and his hop, skip and a jump up the fairway once or one billion times:

But it wasn’t long before American galleries turned on him.

The New York crowd at the U.S. Open at Bethpage in 2002 was particularly unfriendly, booing and cursing as he gripped and re-gripped his club over and over. I vaguely remember a counter getting up to over 20 re-grips for just one shot, but I quite clearly remember Sergio fighting back by flipping off spectators.

His game has gone up and down ever since — it actually | went straight | to hell | for a while — and he now (pretty much inarguably) holds the ignoble title of being The Best Player Who Still Hasn’t Won a Major.

Most recently, golf fans witnessed his ridiculous dust up with Tiger Woods at this year’s Players Championship, his collapse on the 17th hole…

…and his controversial comments about fried chicken. It’s worth noting that the fans at Sawgrass jeered Sergio for twice hitting his ball in the water even before he said anything about hosting Woods for dinner. Next week’s U.S. Open will be Garcia’s first big-time American tournament since the incident.

But all that stuff ignores some other truths about Garcia. Namely, that he’s one of the best pure ball strikers in the history of the game and is starting to concrete his status as one of golf’s most tortured souls. Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman are two charter members of the small club of guys who have endured as much or more heartbreak on the game’s biggest stages … and Phil’s still won four majors.

Fans love redemption — the examples are endless — and as Tiger Woods continues to profess, “Winning takes care of everything.”

So here’s the real question: If Sergio Garcia is contending on the back nine on Sunday, are you with him or are you against him?

[For more of the Level's 2013 U.S. Open coverage click here]

  1. willh888 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    booing is generic/expected. Just cheer when he bounces one past the green or finds a maple tree just off the fairway

    Reply
    • joe - Jun 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      Boo him why for sticking up to the great Tiger, screw Tiger i’m glad he threw in his face, cant stand Woods.

      Reply
      • willh888 - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        haha, don’t be a nerd.

  2. Mike - Jun 8, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    It is a common mistake of coming up in the world to surrender the moral high ground to a person with far less character by sinking to depths one should not have in reflecting your contempt. Sergio would be best served to focus on his own game and what he needs to do to win. Don’t reflect on someone else’s shortcomings…it will only detract from your life!

    Reply
  3. Susquehanna80 - Jun 8, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Boo him? Quite the opposite.. I will cheer Sergio for verbally disparaging Tiger

    Reply
  4. Ed - Jun 8, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Boo Garcia? Why?

    As for Andy North and his stupid comment? Another person asked for an opinion who falls back on a cliche. Does North realize that most of the people involved in the Santa Claus incident are dead? Please Andy work a bit harder.

    Reply
  5. Msj - Jun 9, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Garcia an insecure ass who needs to just focus on his game. Why make unnecessary racists remarks.

    Tiger rules. Get over it.

    Reply
  6. Golfer99 - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    I will cheer for Garcia, Tiger deserves it, he’s the jerk who messed up in all of this.

    Reply
    • scratchgolf - Jun 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      I have a weekend pass to this weekend’s US Open. I will be sure to BOO Sergio each and every day. The man is a bitter child because he has never won a major. In golf you aren’t taken very seriously among your peers unless you win a major. Sergio knows this and simply can’t handle the fact that Tiger has had so much success so easily while he has struggled so tremendously. Both guys started their careers around the same time, and both were considered to be the next best golfers for decades to come. Only one, Tiger, has actually lived up to that hype. Not only has Tiger lived up to the hype, he has far succeeded it, thus explaining Sergio’s bitterness towards Tiger.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing Tiger winning this year’s US open, just to prove every one wrong who said he would never win a golf tournament again, let alone a major, back in 2009 when he went through a very nasty and public divorce.

      If Tiger doesn’t win, then I would love to see Jason Dufner to win. I’d like to see if he actually broke a smile after winning.

      Reply
      • Golfer99 - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        I’m going this Saturday considering it’s happening in my town, which by the way isn’t Philadelphia, but actually Havertown right outside of Philly. Anyway, I think it’s funny how you keep talking about Tiger only succeeded by living up to everyone’s expectations of being one of the best golfers, which I’ll admit is impressive, and Garcia may not be the best, but that’s not really what I care about. See, Tiger has not succeeded as a human being, his horrible moral standards, horrible attitude, and conceited ways make him my least favorite golfer, and possibly least favorite athlete. So in a sense, though Sergio hasn’t been very mature through all of this either, I certainly will sooner condone his actions and support him throughout this. As for me I hope Sergio wins, or Rickie Fowler, and even more so, I hope Tiger screws up and comes in dead last, as I know not many people in my town will be supporting him. Also, word has gotten out of the house he has rented in the neighborhood, and well, let’s just say he should watch out for some eggs and toilette paper, cause there are some people around here pissed off with him.

      • willh888 - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        well the second he pulls that morality wood out of his bag, I’ll start caring about his failed first attempt at being a decent family man. Guy obviously took the wrong path in his years as a young fella. It’s a lot easier to dislike the guy, and hey it’s not for all of us. Next time you’re filthy rich and marry a model for love (HAHA), lets see how long you’ll last in that little glass tower.

        When Tiger lines up for the winning putt sunday evening just before sundown, he won’t be winning any life trophies.. just a golf tournament. If you want to celebrate a guys past moral standards, make friends with one of those dudes who votes for the Nobel Prize and let your voice be heard.

        Also if you ever find yourself on a flight with Sergio, pray you don’t fly over any water


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