Sergio Garcia ultimately lost his match against Rickie Fowler, but in my mind he still walks away a winner.
On the sixth hole of Friday’s match, Sergio’s ball came to rest against a sprinkler head infested with bees. Not comfortable with the situation, Garcia asked for a drop. It didn’t give him relief from the bees, though. So he got another. Then he hit the shot.
The whole time, Fowler was waiting on the green for his birdie putt. Both players ended up making pars.
The delay bothered Garcia, though, and he thought it might have had an effect on the match. So, on the next hole, with Fowler 18 feet from the hole, and Garcia just seven, Sergio made one of those grand gestures of sportsmanship that makes golf so different from other sports: he offered Fowler a tie. A tie … in a spot where Garcia was likely to win the hole and go a devastating three-up on Fowler.
“I had to kind of find out what he was asking or offering there,” Fowler said. “Took me a few to kind of realize. And obviously I’d be stupid to not take a half. I was outside of him. He had a good look for par. He had the advantage there.”
Sergio: “I felt guilty. I felt guilty that my drop on 6 took so long. I felt like if I would have been in his position I would have been uncomfortable waiting so long to hit my birdie putt. So I just thought I have to do something. I have to do something to make sure that I feel good with myself.”
Sergio ultimately lost the match, but he has no regrets:
“I don’t regret it at all. He played much better than me on the last 10 holes and he deserves a win. This is a gentlemen’s game, and lately it hasn’t felt like it’s been like that. This is the way I was brought up by my dad playing golf.”
Sergio has had his issues and his detractors over the past few years. He also has not played up to his potential. It seems to me as if we’re witnessing a resurgence of Sergio and his game. That’s a good sign. Professional golf is better with Sergio Garcia in the discussion of winners.