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The Grown Up Garcia

On a course that often times rewards the best ball strikers; the world’s second best ball striker came through; finally. Sergio Garcia is the 2008 Players Champion and that ‘thud’ that you just heard is the sound of a very large monkey jumping off the brilliant Spaniard’s back.

Garcia has been agonizingly close to wining big tournaments in the past but there have been two things standing in his way. Himself and his putter. Garcia first burst onto the golf stage as a 15 year old in the 1995 British Open. Since turning professional, in 1998 he has won 6 times on the European Tour and yesterday’s triumph at the TPC was his seventh win on the PGA Tour.

Real or imagined, Garcia has a “me against the world attitude” as evidenced by his press conference after losing the playoff in last year’s British Open in which he blamed everybody but himself, for losing.

There is a fine line between being honest with yourself and forgiving yourself for your failures (which is a mandatory attribute for great golfers). Perhaps, Garcia grew up yesterday.

Faced with make or break putts on the final two holes of regulation, he delivered. In a big way. Garcia even admitted that he had a small grin on his face when standing over the putt on 18, and that he had played the final round, without worrying about the outcome (translation; he was playing in his “style”; a Persuader). He was playing more like the teenager who played with abandon and joy, 10 years ago, rather than a grizzled veteran, grinding over each shot. Perhaps he has grown up, by going back to being a fun-loving kid.

Welcome back, Sergio.