Welcome back to our rundown of top five PGA Tour content lightning rods for 2019! Today we come to our No. 4 selection, Mr. Sergio García. It was a weird, angry season for the Spaniard. Suffice it to say that whatever good vibes remained from his 2017 Masters triumph seem to be gone now.
The Year in Sergio
Sergio García has always worn his emotions on his sleeve. That tendency took a dark turn at this year’s Saudi International, from which García was disqualified for “serious misconduct”—i.e., bashing his putter into not one, not two, but five greens. This wasn’t a case of temporarily losing his mind and making a mistake; it was sustained mayhem. Not long after Sergio’s disqualification, a video of another temper tantrum—this one in a bunker at the same tournament—came to light. The guy was clearly on tilt and taking his frustrations out on the course.
Aside from the disqualification, García faced no official consequences for his misdeeds in the Middle East.
But a few weeks after his meltdown, Sergio’s Instagram took a noticeable turn. He—or his team—started posting photos of him signing autographs for fans, smiling with kids, and helping with a not at all tour orchestrated proposal at the Players Championship. It had the distinct feel of a PR campaign staged by someone operating on the assumption that golf fans were morons.
Not so fast
Unsurprisingly, Sergio changed nothing about his behavior and continued to be a content god.
We detailed his tiff with Matt Kuchar at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in our Wednesday newsletter. That incident, too, featured a clumsy attempt at PR cleanup.
Fast forward to July, and Sergio was caught filmed hitting a poor drive at the Open Championship and throwing his club at his caddie as they walked off the tee. As former caddies ourselves, we wouldn’t have blamed the looper for walking off the golf course then and there. (Though it’s worth noting that the caddie in question was García’s brother.) Public backlash ensued. Wash, rinse, and repeat.
Just one week later, at the WGC-St. Jude Championship in Memphis, a fan video caught García slamming his club into a tee box after a poor drive, taking out a serious chunk of turf.
We’d expect anyone who has had as poor a PR year as Sergio to make reparations. And he did… to the Saudis. García announced this fall that he would be returning to the Saudi International, the scene of his season-defining outbursts—but this time for free. Most top players have to be coaxed into the event with appearance fees, but Sergio appears to have some debts to pay.
All in all, it was a grim year for Sergio, even if it wasn’t for Sergio-related content.
And you know what? Nobody’s perfect. ’Tis the season of peace, joy, and forgiveness, so here’s hoping for a brighter 2020 for one of the best ball-strikers in the world.
Adam Scott, Cameron Smith, and Min Woo Lee are in the mix at the Australian PGA Championship. Leaderboard
Our Wednesday newsletter didn’t mention the post-Presidents Cup Twitter brawl between “Old Man Media” and the “fanboys” of Barstool Sports—because it was so, so silly—but we recommend Alan Shipnuck’s even-handed take on the fracas for Golf.com.
Hank Haney, who was fired by Sirius XM Radio for his comments about Korean players in women’s golf, is now suing the PGA Tour.
Happy Holidays from the TaylorMade team! Enjoy your nightmares!
Raising the Course: Old Toccoa Farm – Located in the north Georgia mountains, Old Toccoa Farm is an exciting, recently completed design by Dave Axland and Dan Proctor’s firm Bunker Hill Golf. Learn more about the story behind the course in Ryan Book’s article for our website.
Shotgun Start: The 2019 Year in Review: Part II
This Friday episode begins with Andy calling in from an Uber, where, interestingly enough, the rider has a lower rating than the driver. Brendan and Andy quickly discuss the TaylorMade Christmas card and one notable omission from the Year in Review opener before getting to the second part of this Bryson-paced exercise. Part II picks up at Riviera, where Matt Kuchar put his foot in his mouth and quickly backtracked and J.B. Holmes became the subject a pitchfork mob. This part also includes the eventful Honda Classic, where the war over the new rules peaked, as well as the season’s “first major,” The Players. The start of the “season of championships” is remembered for Rory’s big win, oddball rules infractions, marketing word salad, and a true triumph of democracy in action. The episode wraps with an amusing story about an encounter with a PGA Tour executive at the Masters after the Fan Vote Friday coup at TPC Sawgrass. Listen on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
For an introduction to this ongoing list, check out its home on our website.
Sand Valley (Nekoosha, Wisconsin)
The first course at Sand Valley Golf Resort, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, set a high bar for the burgeoning Midwest destination. For architecture fans, this course is a treat for the senses. Coore & Crenshaw’s mastery of routing is on full display: they find remarkable natural green sites, both set into and on top of the modest sand dunes. For green sites that lacked natural dunes, C&C built memorable features, such as the Redan concept on No. 3 and the mounding that fronts the par-4 15th. Overall, Sand Valley’s firm conditions and repelling green edges bring to mind the courses of the English heathlands and the Melbourne Sandbelt. Last week, during the 2019 Presidents Cup, viewers fawned over the conditioning and architecture of Royal Melbourne. For the American public golfer, Sand Valley is as close to Royal Melbourne as it gets. Full Profile of Sand Valley
Insider tip: The Sandbox is the most popular late-hour golf option at the Sand Valley Resort, but if you want to use the full bag, the evening six-hole loop at the Sand Valley course is a tremendous way to finish the day. -Andy Johnson
(Browse the Sand Valley prints in our pro shop!)
Sergio may have lost his cool once or twice or thrice this year, but your iced coffee doesn’t have to! Our Fried Egg tumblers help keep any drink cold (or hot). Grab one in our pro shop today!