Sergio Garcia has made it easy to hate him lately. The antipathy is only going to continue to swell this week at the U.S. Open, which will surely be defined by more backpedaling and failed explanations for his verbal miscues, not to mention the reprise of the golfing mistakes that sunk his hopes at the Players Championship.
To kick off the latest episode of Garcian malcontent, Sergio went public with the insinuation that, in some apparent exercise of gamesmanship, Tiger Woods pulled a club from his bag, leading to a commotion that caused Sergio to misfire on a shot.
Then, when given the opportunity to remove his Adidas Adizero from his mouth, the Spaniard further insulted Woods on multiple occasions before uttering what will go down in the annals of golf history as The Fried Chicken Remark.
Sergio frequently has a bull head cover on his driver, which is just too appropriate on several levels. He's often bullheaded and full of bull...well, you get it.
Garcia's pointless brainlessness is, of course, easy to hate, as is his absence of perspective. He's still being a bit dense about the situation, thinking that Tiger Woods will give him the time of day at the Open this week and listen to his apology. He won't. Neither will he address the issue with the media, as he has a golf tournament to win.
As Doug Ferguson of The Associated Press wrote (via Golfweek.com), Garcia's remarks were:
His biggest gaffe in a career loaded with them — worse than heaving a 5-iron into the water after a poor shot in Thailand, spitting into the cup at Doral after a missed putt, blaming a rules official for assessing a penalty on him in Australia, pouting about the bad breaks that cost him the claret jug at Carnoustie.
Entering the U.S. Open, where the most patient and disciplined golfers are rewarded, it's easy to hate Sergio Garcia for being neither of those things. It's easy to hate him for the way he wilts in the face of pressure, as he did at the Players.
We expect more from professional athletes.
Given all the off- and on-course pressure this week, it's impossible to imagine Garcia responding with grace while cobbling together a decent week at Merion.
It's easy to imagine the jeering Philly crowd getting Garcia off his game this week.
It's easy to hate Garcia for the way his inimitable talent is coupled with a streak of bleak despondency that has almost assured he'll never win a major.
It's easy to revile Garcia for such ridiculous claims, per The Guardian, as "I'm not good enough to win a major." We hate the statement because we both know Sergio has the talent and lament the wasted potential, cringing at a professional athlete waving the white flag.
Sergio's best performance in a U.S. Open actually came at Bethpage Black in 2002, where he famously flicked off the hostile New York crowd. He should expect more of the same from the Philadelphia fans at Merion this week.
The fact he's moved from 144th two years ago to inside the top 10 in strokes gained putting also draws ire. Garcia has long been one of the best ball-strikers on tour. Now, he can putt. So, why can't he win?
The sheer abundance of these types of "Why, Sergio?" questions define the man and lie at the heart of the contempt we feel for him.
However, somewhere beneath all the pouty poor performances is the teenager who went leaping down the fairway at the '99 PGA Championship. More than anything else, we haters must hate the fact that the promise of the young Garcia hasn't been fulfilled, neither at the U.S. Open nor at any other major venue.