Sergio Garcia has been in the public eye for more than 20 years. During that time, he has become a love/hate player on the PGA Tour.
Sergio Garcia earned his 11th PGA Tour win on Sunday, hitting a clutch second shot on the 72nd hole, then making his birdie to claim the title at the Sanderson Farms Championship. It was an outstanding performance by one of the most polarizing figures in the game of golf today.
So, that begs the question – should we love Sergio Garcia? Or should we hate him? Or is the answer somewhere in between.
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I will admit that I have a unique perspective in this situation. I have worked on projects with Garcia’s wife, the former Angela Akins, who I found to be very professional and very nice. She was also very good at her job when we worked together.
My brother will also tell a story about Garcia approaching his son, my nephew, at Valhalla during a practice round for the PGA Championship. My brother was no fan of Garcia at the time, but the interaction between the Spaniard and my nephew changed my brother’s mind about Garcia forever.
Then, there is the Garcia that most people know. The one who spat in the cup at the 13th hole of the 2007 WGC-CA Championship after a three-putt for bogey. Later that year, Garcia openly complained about bad luck on the course after he blew the lead at the Open Championship.
Garcia also became a Ryder Cup villain for Americans, starting early on.
Just one of the many examples that Americans point to was in 2008, when Garcia lost 5&4 to Anthony Kim. At one point, after an errant Garcia drive, he seemed to take an exaggerated stance in order to get a drop. Kim said “you gotta do what you gotta do” and walked away from Garcia.
In 2013, Garcia was accused of making racially insensitive comments toward Tiger Woods after hitting three balls in the water on the 17th and 18th holes at the Players Championship and falling out of the lead. Garcia was forced to apologize not once, but twice, after the incident.
Garcia’s troubles continued in 2019 when he was disqualified from the Saudi International event on the European Tour. Apparently, the Spaniard’s anger got the best of him and he damaged a green. Oh wait, he didn’t damage a green. He damaged FIVE greens.
Later that same year, Garcia was embroiled in another controversy at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. In a quarterfinal match against Matt Kuchar, Garcia missed his par putt, the raked the ball back toward the cup, but the ball lipped out. Apparently, Garcia played the shot before Kuchar could concede the putt and it cost Garcia the hole. He ended up losing to Kuchar 2-up.
It’s easy to see why my opinion of Garcia is pulled in two directions. Should we love him because he seems to be a loving husband and father and because he made quite an impression on my brother and nephew? Or is the real Garcia the villain who continues to have incidents on the course, even after being in the public spotlight for more than 20 years?
I think both sides are true, which may seem like a cop out answer. But I respect my brother’s opinion and I know he has spoken of the experience with his son on several occasions. I also know that, no matter how much of a temper one might have, there is no excuse for acting the way that Garcia has on the course at times during his career.
Love him or hate him, it’s good to have Garcia winning again on the PGA Tour. Just having him in the mix can make the conversation around the PGA Tour more lively.