At the age of 32, Sergio Garcia has apparently given up any hope of winning a major championship.
“I’m not good enough … I don’t have the thing I need to have,” Garcia lamented to Spanish reporters after shooting 75 at Augusta National to drop into a tie for 19th at 1-under-par 215, eight shots behind leader Peter Hanson. “In 13 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place.”
When Garcia was asked whether he meant in the Masters, he replied: “In any major.”
Garcia began the day 4-under and only one shot off the lead. It matched his best 36-hole score in 14 Masters appearances, and with Rory McIlroy playing with him, the twosome seemed promising as a major attraction on CBS and in front of the Augusta galleries.
But Garcia bogeyed three of his first four holes and didn’t make a birdie until the par-3 12th.
McIlroy was faring even worse, shooting 77 with a 42 on the first nine that dropped him into a tie for 27th at 1-over.
The two even engaged in a comic moment at the 12th hole, having a mock hug after McIlroy also made birdie. It would be the only birdie the two made on the same hole all day.
They even engaged in some banter on their post-round CBS interview. When appearing before print media, Garcia quipped that the hug he got from McIlroy at No. 12 “would have been better if it were my girlfriends.”
But later, when Garcia met with Spanish media, his mood had darkened.
“I’m not good enough,” he said. “ I had my chances and opportunities and I wasted them. I have no more options. I wasted my options.”
At one point, Garcia implored to reporters: “Tell me something I can do?”
While Garcia’s shortcomings in major championships are well-documented, he is the same age or younger than recent first-time major championship winners Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Stewart Cink – and four years younger than Tiger Woods, who outdueled Garcia in 1999 at Medinah to win the PGA Championship.
Garcia’s swashbuckling play that week at the age of 19 called to mind other Spanish stars such as Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal. But that tournament and the 2007 British Open that was won by Padraig Harrington, when Garcia missed a crucial putt on the final hole, are the best chances he’s had so far.
Garcia has been desperate to win at Augusta, where Ballesteros and Olazabal combined for four green jackets. He has finished among the top-10 only twice, and not since 2004.
McIlroy said Saturday was just one of those days.
“The good thing is that it wasn’t the last day,” said McIlroy, referring to his final-round 80 last year after he held the 54-hole lead. “I can go out there tomorrow, try and shoot a good score, try and finish well, get a top-10 or a top-five or whatever … and at least leave here in a positive frame of mind.”