Garcia Finds Maturity In His Game?

The Guardian has an article on the “new” Sergio Garcia, who reportedly has gained a degree of “maturity” to go with his seemingly endless talent:

Sergio Garcia, at 26, says he has ‘grown up’. So, not the worst case of arrested development, although you have to wonder how walking around big fields in loud pants and hitting a small ball into a small hole for several years can add to your personal growth.

So why the rush towards relative calm? The young Spaniard with the smile of a child, nicknamed El Niño, puts it down to the Ryder Cup. He was surrounded by more than team-mates and opponents at the K Club in Kildare a couple of weeks ago. He was playing with people he knew well, one of whom had lost his wife, another who had lost his father, and it put mere golf into perspective.

It’s an interesting article for its cataloging of some of Garcia’s more famous tantrums. But it’s also more than a bit condescending. Garcia is 26, for heavens sake. Isn’t he a bit old for people to be questioning his maturity? Tommy Bolt had tantrums … Tiger has been known to have an angry moment. But no one questions their maturity.

To be fair to the writer, this isn’t the first time I’ve read or heard a sportswriter question El Nino’s maturity. But given that more than a few sportswriters are themselves cases of arrested development, I find all of that doubly ironic.

At some level, I guess it would be good to see a bit more comportment on Garcia’s part. But is that a maturity problem? For me, a sign of immaturity in an athlete would be an unwillingness to practice, or to finish a game. As far as I know, no one has ever accused Garcia of that. And I don’t really think it’s hurting his prospects. He’s twenty six and has—by my count—sixteen professional wins. He’s a world beater in Ryder Cup matches. That’s an enviable record.  He hasn’t had much luck in the Majors, but then, other than Tiger, who has lately?

No, Garcia’s problem is not his maturity, but his well publicized putting difficulties. When he gets those squared away, he’s going to win a Major or two.

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