15th hole ruins Garcia's entire week by itself

15th hole ruins Garcia's entire week by itself

June 15, 2013, 8:00 pm
Share This Post

ARDMORE, Pa. -- It just hasn't been his week.

Wait a minute -- take a look at these scorecards. Sergio Garcia has played well, well enough, in fact, to contend at the U.S. Open.

He's played 17 of Merion's holes this week 1-over par. So how then is it possible that he's plus-11 through 54?

Let's just say that while Golf House Rd. has been closed to local drivers this week, it's been plenty open to Garcia and his driver.

Through three rounds, Garcia has played Merion's 15th hole at 10-over par and pumped five balls out of bounds to the left of the fairway.

On Thursday, he followed up a double bogey on the 14th -- where he also hit a ball out of bounds -- with a quadruple-bogey eight on 15, when he hit two more O.B.

On Friday, he made a par.

And on Saturday, Garcia needed not one, not two, not three, but four swings to get off the tee box. He hit three straight balls over the out-of-bounds-marking stumps that sit just one yard off the fairway, and made a par on his fourth ball to card a 10.

That's right … a 10.

"Funny enough," Garcia began, "when I made the eight on Thursday, I hit a lot of bad shots. And funny enough, I probably only hit one bad shot today.

"My first drive, I thought it was good, it was into the wind, and it just went out of bounds.

"My second one, I thought it was even better. It went out by five inches.

"And then third one wasn't great, and then after that I hit two good shots and a good putt. After that I took a chance and the round came out nicely."

He rebounded to shoot 3-under over his remaining 13 holes, finishing with a five-over-par 75. What does it say about his game that he can make a 10 and then not drop another shot for the rest of his round?

"What is about my game that I can make a 10? Forget about the rest," he responded, while laughing.

It was almost strange to see him in good spirits after everything he's dealt with this week, everything he's brought on himself. Garcia began the week by trying to make amends with Tiger Woods following their feud that reignited at the Players Championship and then exploded when Sergio made his now-infamous remarks about fried chicken.

Garcia approached Woods on the practice range Monday to shake hands, left a note in Woods' locker later that day, and issued his second public apology for his remarks on Tuesday. He seemed contrite, but also clearly hoped he would be able to move beyond the incident and that the fans would still support him.

For the most part, they have. Garcia has received a mostly warm welcome from the crowd this week, with only a smattering of hecklers.

But one of those hecklers received a good bit of attention on Saturday, yelling "fried chicken" when Sergio was announced on the 11th tee box. It's unclear there was any correlation, but Garcia did play his first five holes at eight-over par.

One reporter asked Garcia's thoughts of Philadelphia and its fans.

"Good, good. Very good, yeah. They've been good," he said.

Another reporter asked him about the heckler and whether he had prepared himself for that kind of response this week.

"Yeah, I think it was a possibility," he said. "Like I said on the first day, for the most part [the fans] have been very good. Obviously there's a little group, they're trying to be funny and stand out. They shout a little bit louder than the rest.

"You know the only thing I have to say is that they're not very -- how you say -- like, you know, they're very common. They're not very creative."

That same reporter asked if they, the hecklers, followed him at all. It was the third straight question about the topic.

Garcia responded to the question as he began walking away.

"I think so," he said, as casually he could. "I don't know."