Golf: Garcia on disaster course as he whistles in the wind

THERE WAS nothing to indicate that the ball lying between the tracks at Carnoustie Station yesterday belonged to Sergio Garcia, but there could have been. He had found every other trap that had been laid to catch the competitors in the first round of the 128th Open Championship.

They call Garcia the future of European golf, which, given the evidence of yesterday, would give it the rosy prospects of the gas-fired fridge or the Sinclair C5. You can make allowances for his tender age and still the performance was lamentable.

There is no doubt that Carnoustie is a shot-devouring monster, but even it gets indigestion when over par creeps into double figures. Garcia managed an 89 which is 18 shots worse than regulation and so dire that the scoreboard had to be hurriedly adjusted merely to accommodate the Spaniard's name. Only Tom Gillis was worse than him yesterday and the next was four strokes better.

Tony Jacklin, bless him, who regards himself as a 55-year-old character actor in the main plot these days, managed to creak round the course in a 14-over 85. The 19-year-old Garcia managed to shoot more than his age before most of the spectators had arrived. That was within four holes.

"I'm not afraid to be here," Garcia had said with the brashness of youth on Wednesday, but by the end of the par-four first yesterday morning he should have been nervous. The hole is called The Cup and he must have feared never getting in it because his drive clattered into the gallery, his second crossed the fairway into heavy rough, his third advanced a few inches, and by the time he had extricated himself from this mess, he was writing the figure seven on his card.

It was a dreadful start but the holes round the turn were even worse. Garcia left the seventh green a repairable five over and by the time he reached the 13th tee and salvaged a par he had squandered eight shots to par in five holes. His demeanour by this time was of a scolded schoolboy, his hands in his pockets, his eyes fixed on the ground. No one would accuse a professional golfer of not caring but Garcia got pretty close, rushing his shots to get the agony over.

His drives invariably went right, his body equally invariably into contours of inner pain. At one point he stood, crucifix-like with arms spread wide, appealing to someone for salvation, his eyes not wishing to look at a stroke from the 11th tee that was so grotesquely ugly it arced into the rough on the 10th. Amateur golfers do this all the time, but not former amateur champions, and not someone who has had every superlative laid before him since he turned pro.

With that shot the patience of his watching parents broke and an exchange followed from both sides of the gallery ropes. You did not need to be fluent in Spanish to detect desperate anxiety from Garcias elder and junior.

The real low came at the par-three 16th, however. Garcia drove into the face of the bunker and then, rejecting all principles of good practice, failed to make even cursory contact with the sand with his club and the ball was thinned 40 yards past the flag. Not surprisingly, he double- bogeyed that hole, one of five such blemishes.

Coming off the 18th he was all smiles, ruffling the cap of a youngster who crossed his path to the recorder's cabin. A truer indicator of his mood was his refusal to speak to the media immediately afterwards. "Call me Sergio," he had said on Wednesday. Yesterday it was "no, no".

Instead his caddie, Jerry Higginbotham, articulated the unspeakable. "It was just one of those days," he said. "The bunkers were just like magnets. He had a bad start and his ball striking wasn't that good.

"I tried my best to cheer him but his attitude wasn't that bad. I told him he's going to have majors ahead of him. What did he shoot, 89? Look on the bright side, we broke 90."

No amount of whistling in the considerable wind could eradicate a miserable display. At home in Spain he has played nine holes left-handed and still scored 42, yesterday he went out in 44 and back in 45, and, no, he was not using those left-handed clubs backwards. First place at the Irish Open two weeks ago, second position at Loch Lomond on Saturday, yesterday he was simply third rate.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a friendly, confident i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Primary Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: At Tradewind Recruitment we are currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: Physics Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment is currently working ...

Recruitment Genius: Case Manager - Occupational Therapist / Physiotherapist

£28000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee