Although he couldn’t have imagined it at the time, Garcia’s 2008 Players victory was also his last for four full seasons. Not until the Wyndham, in mid-August of 2012, would he again see the inside of the winner’s circle at a PGA Tour event.
Garcia was 32 by then. In 2010 he had fallen below $1 million in seasonal earnings for the first time since 2003. Not only had he failed to win since the Players, he had not been Top 3 in any tournament since 2008.
So when measured against Carl Pettersson’s opening round 62 at Sedgefield Country club in Greensboro, N.C., Garcia’s 67 seemed unremarkable. There were 17 players ahead of him after that first round, and 16 others tied with him.
But on a course that was ripe for scoring, Garcia led the Friday-Saturday charge. He shot 63-66 to begin final round play at 196, one stroke ahead of Tim Clark and Bud Cauley.
Sunday’s finish was delayed by late showers, forcing several of the leaders to return Monday for the conclusion. When they did, Clark shot 67 and Cauley 68, but Garcia’s 66 bettered them both. He finished with a total of 262, beating Clark by two strokes and Cauley by three.
The victory was especially important for Garcia, since it wrapped up a position on the European Ryder Cup team, which was to play the Americans at Medinah that September.