Garcia ‘thrilled’ to be back on Ryder Cup team
Just 19 then, he played with audacious abandon, ripping balls through trees, jumping into the air to see where his shots landed. He even dared to talk some smack to Woods, who was so fearsome in those days he could beat most of his opponents simply by showing up at the range. When a birdie on 13 got Garcia within three, he turned around, looked back at Woods on the tee and tugged his cap as if to say, “Your turn.”
And who could forget the tree? When Garcia’s tee shot on 16 sailed wide right and settled behind the knotted roots of a large oak tree, he grabbed a 6-iron, closed his eyes, swung and then sprinted out to the fairway to watch the ball land on the green.
Garcia wound up second to Woods, but he had left his mark on Medinah. When the PGA Championships returned seven years later, Garcia finished in a tie for third. He has finished third or better at only three other majors: the 2008 PGA in Oakland Hills (tie for second), the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie (second) and the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst (tie for third).
“It has changed a little bit,” Garcia said, referring to Medinah’s No. 3 Course. “Personally, I liked it better in ‘99. I thought it was a better course.”
After his stint as a spectator, however, Garcia really wouldn’t care if they asked him to play in a parking lot.
So long as he’s playing.
“I feel pretty good about my game,” he said. “I’m hoping to play well, help my team and my teammates as possible and just try to get as many points as I can so we can achieve the goal we came here to do.”