Mar
21
2011
This Week’s PGA Tour Confidential: Does Sergio Have the Drive to Become a Top Player Again?
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour Confidential

Anything that has to do with Sergio Garcia usually creates a healthy discussion. We saw glimpses of the “old” Sergio with his solid play in the first two rounds of last week’s Transitions Championship, but then he faltered over the weekend to finish T15. This week’s PGA Tour Confidential host, Mike Walker, posed the question, “Have we already seen the best we’re going to get from Sergio, or does he have the drive to become a top player again?” Here’s an excerpt from our lively chat:

Wei: It was nice to see Sergio back on the leaderboard, but I’m not sure if he still has the fire. What struck me after the second round was his indifference to winning. He said that winning wasn’t the focus. “I just want to keep building confidence into my head, and these rounds obviously help,” he said. “If we go out there tomorrow and shoot another [good] round, beautiful. If not, that’s fine. I’ve just got to make sure that I keep building up.”

Gorant: Odd as it seems, that may be a better mindset for him. Especially now.

Godich: Sergio will have his moments, but I’m not holding my breath about a serious comeback.

Van Sickle: Sergio didn’t seem to be full of a lot of energy talking about his “comeback” early in the week. On Sunday, he admitted to a writer that he wasn’t playing well enough to win. In other words, he’s still a work in progress, like Tiger. I get the feeling Sergio is a lot further away than Tiger is to climbing the mountain again.

Godich: It’s a process.

Morfit: I think he could win a British Open.

Lipsey: Maybe a women’s British Open, if he played the up tees.

Van Sickle: The Open is four months away. That’s a long time. But Sergio didn’t seem to have any noticeable fire in him this week. Maybe that’s the byproduct of knowing your game isn’t there yet.

Godich: Or that it’s never coming back. And if he is ever going to win a major, he’d better have lapped the field as he comes down the back nine on Sunday. Otherwise, we might see a sequel to Monty at Winged Foot in ’06.

Evans: Sergio has too much God-given ability to be done as a top player. I think that he’s on the right track by not putting any pressure on himself. This fresh outlook could lead to some good play.

Dusek: I don’t think that scar from Carnoustie may ever totally heal. Until Sergio exorcizes his putting demons, he’s going to struggle when the pressure is on. He won at TPC Sawgrass in 2008 because he switched putters, got some advice from Stan Utley and got hot for a week. But remember, even there, after Goydos put his tee shot in the playoff into the lake on 17 and Garcia stuffed his shot in close, he missed the 5-footer for birdie.

Like I said, I’d love to see Sergio contend and win a major. But I’m not sure what to expect at this point. I guess only time will tell!

We also tossed around which of the three first-time winners — DA Points, Jhonattan Vegas and Gary Woodland — has the brightest future. My vote went to Woodland. He started playing competitively much later than most guys and constantly says he’s still learning to play the game. With all his talent and athleticism, I don’t think he’s reached anything near his full potential yet. I expect much more from him.

I ran into Ryan Moore and his brother/caddie Jason this afternoon at Starbucks. Ryan said Woodland is definitely a guy to watch and was impressed with how calm he looked coming down the stretch on Sunday. I told him about Woodland’s background and lack of experience, which just further made Ryan think Woodland will be a lasting threat. Ryan said it’s almost better for guys like Gary, who are straight-up talented and don’t have demons to battle.

What impressed you guys most about Woodland’s game? Which of the first-time winners do you think have the most success for many years to come?

(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)