Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Garcia's winless streak hard to figure or break


In his 10th year as a pro, Sergio Garcia has been an enigma. No other player younger than 32-year-old Tiger Woods has contended so often in the majors and showed so much variety in his game.
"He's like Tiger," said Paul Goydos, who was two shots back of Garcia Thursday at the Players Championship. "His go-to shot is the shot that's needed."
But frustration has been setting in over three winless seasons, dating to the old Booz Allen Classic at Congressional in Bethesda, Md., and Garcia recently turned to putting guru Stan Utley for help. This was a major move, for Garcia has relied almost exclusively on his father for help.
"My main idea was to get back to the way I used to putt, like 10 or 12 years ago, when I was a good putter," Garcia said. "At least now I have some rounds where I come out and say I actually shot what I should have shot, and not come out and think, 'I should have been four or five shots better' … which is always not very nice."
Garcia, 28, is tied with Adam Scott for most PGA Tour victories (six) by players under 30.

Couples bides time

Fred Couples didn't realize until a few months ago that he wasn't eligible for the Players Championship, an event he has won twice and counts among his favorite.

Couples missed nearly all of last year with back problems, so he wasn't among the top 125 on the money list. But with so many players pulling out, from Tiger Woods to Martin Kaymer, Couples kept moving up the alternate list until he got in.

He made the most out of his 25th start at TPC Sawgrass.

Couples was among the leaders until bogey from the bunker on the 14th, and a three-putt bogey on the 17th, leading to 2-under 70, four back. But he can only imagine being at Sawgrass and waiting to hear if he got in.

"Not to be mean, I just don't have that in me," he said. "If I sat here for three days and didn't get in, I think I'd be miserable for a month."

One man's treasure

Tom Lehman's tee shot on the 17th hole narrowly stayed on the fringe, keeping intact his amazing luck on the island green. He has played that hole 59 times, and only once has found the water, the second round last year.

The flip side is Charles Howell.

He looked disgusted when his tee shot went over the back and into the water, but that should not have come as a surprise. Howell is 18-over par on the par-3 17th in his seven years at the Players Championship.

Els' frustrating triple

Ernie Els was 2 under until his wedge came up 20 feet short of the island green on the 17th, and he barely kept his third shot on land. He wound up with triple bogey, and a 12-foot birdie on the final hole for 72 didn't improve his spirits much. "I think they should blow it up," Els said. "Everything you worked for in 4½ hours, in one shot it's all gone."

Respect the superstition

When Paul Goydos normally reaches the famed No. 17 island green during practice rounds, he reaches into his bag, grabs a few old balls and tosses them into the murky lagoon as some sort of offering to the golf gods.

He forgot to do it this week.

Maybe he should have. Goydos landed his tee shot, an 8-iron from 146 yards, pin high and it bounced over the back edge. He ended up with bogey.

"When I hit it, I had a bad feeling I hit it too good," said Goydos, who shot 4-under 68 and was two shots behind leader Sergio Garcia. "I don't have that feeling very often. I was kind of hoping it was an optical illusion that it was going so far."

Goydos bounced back from the bogey with par on the difficult 18th, then made three consecutive birdies to start his back nine.

Who's missing

Masters champion Trevor Immelman, Hunter Mahan, Ryan Armour, Cameron Beckman and Jason Gore withdrew.

Immelman headed home to Orlando after he woke up with a stomach virus, leaving the PGA Tour's flagship event without the last two major champions. PGA champion Tiger Woods missed the tournament while recovering from knee surgery.

Mahan and Gore also withdrew because of illness. Armour withdrew after the first round. He shot 9-over 81.

Immelman has had a tough time since winning the Masters by three shots over Woods. He failed to break par in his last two tournaments, missing the cut at the Byron Nelson Championship and the Wachovia Championship.

Immelman was replaced by Dustin Johnson, a 23-year-old rookie who opened with 73.

It's a fact

Phil Mickelson was at 70, trying to become the first repeat winner in the 34-year history of the event. … Twenty balls found the water on the 17th, to 50 last year. … Eight of the 34 players who broke par played in the afternoon. … Sergio Garcia is 17-under par in his past three rounds at TPC Sawgrass.


"The course tempts you into doing really stupid things." — Paul Goydos

Weather today

Partly cloudy and windy, 20-30 mph, high 88.


Mhairi McKay, a 33-year-old Scot, shot a course record-tying 63, and a potential battle looms between Lorena Ochoa (65) and Annika Sorenstam (64) in the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill in Williamsburg, Va. Michelle Wie, playing her first round on the LPGA Tour since February, managed just one birdie in a zigzagging 4-over 75 on a soggy day. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 74. … John Daly shot 5-under 67 to trail co-leaders Ross McGowan and Marco Ruiz by three strokes after the first round of the European PGA's Italian Open in Milan.

Compiled from Times wires

>>fast facts

How Garcia stacks up


Driving distance278.5T100

Greens in reg.88.9T2

Putts per GIR1.68831


Garcia's winless streak hard to figure or break 05/08/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pro Bowl returning to Orlando in 2018


    ORLANDO — The Pro Bowl will return to Orlando in 2018 for the second straight year.

    Bucs  wide receiver Mike Evans runs a route as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. defends during the first quarter of the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl in January at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Erasmo Ramirez makes his third start of the season.
  3. If Tony Dungy sticks around, he'll broadcast the 2021 Tampa Super Bowl for NBC


    Lost in the Super Tuesday news of the Super Bowl coming back to Tampa was this nugget:

    Pictured, from left, Dan Patrick, co-Host, Tony Dungy, studio analyst, Aaron Rodgers. [Ben Cohen/NBC]
  4. Tragedy, tenacity helped shape Ridgewood valedictorian Johannah Cummines

    Volleyball Preps

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Even if her daily routine didn't permit calories to melt off, Johannah Cummines would deserve to pick anything on the menu.

    Ridgewood High senior Johannah Cummines and mom Chenell. Cummines is headed to Florida Atlantic, where she will play beach volleyball. (Photo courtesy of Johannah Cummines)
  5. Bucs Roberto Aguayo kicks off 2017 on the wrong foot


    The goal posts still seem to be moving for Roberto Aguayo.

    The Bucs woebegone place-kicker, who is in a battle with veteran Nick Folk, went 1-for-4 in field goal tries from 35-40 yards Tuesday on a set of narrow uprights, the first day of full squad Organized Team Activities.

    If that weren’t …

    Roberto Aguayo went 1-for-4 in field goal tries from 35-40 yards Tuesday on a set of narrow uprights.