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)

Sergio ends skid to silence his critics

Paul Goydos

Paul Goydos

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Sunday at Sawgrass felt tougher on Sergio Garcia than what he faced last summer at the British Open, a playoff loss that seemed to define a career filled with more talent than trophies.

He was tormented by a suspect putter. He heard questions whether he could win a big one.

All that changed in the final hour of the Players Championship thanks to two clutch putts, a wedge that found safety on an island and a playoff victory that Garcia desperately needed.

The best player without a major got the next best thing, making a 7-foot par putt that put him in a playoff then beating Paul Goydos on the notorious island-green 17th with a wedge into 4 feet and a putt he could afford to miss after Goydos hit into the water.

"It feels like a major, and it tests you like a major," Garcia said. "I'm so thrilled to be here standing with the trophy."

It was a long time coming.

Garcia was in the longest victory drought of his career, stretching over three years and 53 PGA Tour starts. Motivated by criticism of his putting, he rolled in one critical putt after another, none bigger than a slippery par putt on the final hole for 1-under 71. It put him in the playoff when Goydos missed a 15-foot par putt.

And Goydos, a guy with only two career wins, was gracious in defeat.

"I got beat," said Goydos, 43. "I played good golf. That doesn't mean you win. There's no defense. I can't tackle the little guy. There's no knee-capping. You have to accept the guy beat me. They key is to have the lead with no holes to go."

Garcia and Goydos each finished at 5-under 283.

The Spaniard, 28, whose seven PGA Tour victories are the most by players younger than 30, earned $1.71-million from the richest purse in golf and again enters the conversation as a major contender with the U.S. Open a month away.

"The goal is to keep getting better, and the only thing this tells me is to keep working hard and to believe in myself," Garcia said. "And when I do believe in myself, I think there's not a lot of guys out there that can beat me."

Notable: The wind was relentless at as much as 30 mph, stronger than it had been all week, turning the Stadium Course into a terror. … Jesper Parnevik posted 85, the highest score at TPC Sawgrass in five years.

Elsewhere: Colt Knost won the Nationwide Tour's Fort Smith Classic in Arkansas, shooting 5-under 65 to finish at 12-under 268 and edge St. Petersburg's Darron Stiles by a stroke. Stiles (71) made the turn at 14 under but shot 38 on the back.


Sergio Garcia*66737371-5
Paul Goydos68717074-5
Jeff Quinney71737070-4
Briny Baird71717372-1
Stephen Ames74687472E
* Won in playoff over Goydos.

LPGA: Sorenstam rolls

Annika Sorenstam claims victory with a tournament record. 6C

>>Fast facts

The (cruel) playoff

The Players had its first playoff since 1987, and the PGA Tour opted for the first time to start it on the most notorious par 3 in golf — No. 17. The shot was only 128 yards, but the wind blasted as high as 30 mph around a green surrounded by water.

The results

• Paul Goydos hits a wedge into the water then ends up with double bogey.

• Sergio Garcia nestles a wedge to within 4 feet and finishes with par after missing a birdie putt. No matter — the par gave him the playoff victory.

Sergio ends skid to silence his critics 05/12/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.
  2. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  3. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday


    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  4. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.