PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – When Sergio Garcia was asked on Thursday how he led the Players Championship with a first-round 65, while Rory McElroy, who was part of the same threesome, shot a seven-over-par 79, Garcia in his right. Raised the arm up and placed your thumb and index finger about a quarter inch apart.
“It’s the Littlesters things – the little things – that can take a detour from right to wrong,” Garcia said. “It doesn’t take much.”
Garcia had few things on his mind for a while, since a positive coronavirus test in early November forced him to withdraw from the Masters a few days earlier. Contest, Which yielded in 2017 Their biggest win In play.
Garcia stated that his Kovid-19 symptoms were minor, although he believed he had infected his wife Angela, whose response was slightly worse. He did not play again until mid-January, though part of that hiatus was an off-season layoff.
Garcia’s performances this year have peaked, and with the next Masters – back to their usual place on the calendar – only a week away, he plans a more cautious strategy to avoid reintegrating with the virus. Is making Little bit of that risk.
Fans have returned with PGA Tour events As many as 10,000 Welcome each day to the Players Championship this week, and Garcia is happy for the energy it brings to the audience. But he is careful.
“You know you can meet one of them at any time,” said Garcia, 41 years old. “It’s not like they’re trying to give you or anything, but it can happen.”
He said: “I would love to get closer to the fans, but there is a lot of risk for us. And if we get a Kovid, we pay the price for it. Nobody else does. So we have to be very careful because the fans in our game Will come back. “
Garcia, who had a two-stroke lead over Brian Harman on Thursday when the game was suspended due to darkness, also said he would skip the tour event a week before the Masters. Last year, he played at the Houston Open, where he missed the cut and soon began to experience cold-like symptoms.
Garcia’s attitude about the Masters, and his zeal to play in it, have changed considerably since the 2017 tournament, the only major win of a glittering career that required a signing moment. His success that year was, apparently, about small things.
Masters was not kind to Garcia in his 18 appearances before 2017. He finished three times inside the top 10 and a dozen times outside the top 30.
Garcia likes to fade the ball, and Augusta National Golf Club, the site of the Masters, likes those who attract their shots. After a while, Garcia’s bowed shoulder language at Augusta National shook the moment he emerged from his car into the club’s parking lot. But with the infusion of positivity from Angela, then her fiance, Garcia proved resilient, even embraced. Despite some notable final-round stumbles in 2017, he rallied surprisingly to win in the playoffs.
Now he talks of the Masters as if it were his favorite place to compete.
The final fall of Garcia’s return ended her streak of 84 consecutive major championships, which lasted until 1999, when she was only 19 years old. Garcia still had a long way to go to play Jack Nicklaus’ record 146 times in a row, but only four major appearances from his passing. Tom Watson played for the second most consecutive majors.
“It was disappointing, I won’t lie,” he said of the end of his streak. “I’m not much of a record type guy, but it was good to have that streak.”
Garcia started the previous round of nine on Thursday with a birdie on the 15th hole, and an eagle on the 5th hole, scoring three goals. He was on par for the next eight holes, but came off with a scramble as he scored in the seventh and eighth holes, then a brilliantly placed 268-yard par 5 par 9 at the 18-foot Eagle. The Put drowned. 5-was hit by wood.
“This golf course just suits my eye,” said 2008 Players Champion Garcia. “I feel more comfortable.”
McIlroy’s era was more ideal on a day when greens were brighter and a bit more succulent than it was in May, The month when this event was held for many years. Heinrich Stenson shot 85; Tony Feinu, who has finished in the top four three times this year, shot 78; And Ricky Fowler’s lethargy continued with 77. McElroy made his opening shot of the day off the boundary, and landed his first two shots (the ninth hole of his round) at No. 18, Because of which a bunk-bupi rup.
While addressing the subject of McIlroy’s game on Thursday, Garcia once again used his right thumb and index finger.
“You shouldn’t do that too much punishment,” he counseled. “Just a little bit away.”