Sergio García Fernández (born 9 January 1980) is a professional golfer from Spain who plays on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. He has won over 20 international tournaments, including The Players Championship in 2008.
García has spent much of his career in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking (over 300 weeks between 2000 and 2009). He reached a career high ranking of 2nd after winning the HSBC Champions tournament in November 2008, and has achieved career earnings of over $28 million.
- 1.1 Junior and amateur golf
- 1.2 Early professional years
- 1.3 PGA Tour titles
- 1.4 Ryder Cup star
- 1.5 2007: Near-miss at The Open Championship
- 1.6 2008: Victory at The Players Championship and near-miss at the PGA Championship
- 1.7 2009–2010: Slump in form, competitive break
- 1.8 2011–2012: Return to form
- 1.9 2013: Controversy
- 1.10 2014
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Professional wins (26)
- 4 Results in major championships
- 5 Results in World Golf Championship events
- 6 PGA and European Tour career summary
- 7 Team appearances
- 8 Golf equipment
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
García began playing golf at the age of three and was taught by his father, Victor, who is a club professional in Madrid, Spain. He was a star player as a junior, winning his club championship at age 12. Four years later, he set a record as the youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event, the 1995 Turespaña Open Mediterranea. This record was broken by amateur Jason Hak in November 2008 at the UBS Hong Kong Open, beating García's record by 107 days.
In 1995, García also became the youngest player to win the European Amateur. He followed that with a win in the Boys Amateur Championship in 1997. He won a professional tournament, the 1997 Catalonian Open, on the European Challenge Tour, as an amateur. In 1998 he won The Amateur Championship, and reached the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur.
García turned professional in 1999 after shooting the lowest amateur score in the 1999 Masters Tournament. His first title on the European Tour came in his sixth start as a professional, in July 1999 at the Irish Open. He first achieved worldwide prominence with a duel against Tiger Woods in the 1999 PGA Championship, where he eventually finished second. Late in the final round, García hit his most famous shot: with his ball up against a tree trunk in the right rough on the 16th hole, and the green hidden from view, he swung hard with his eyes shut and hit a low curving fade that ran up onto the green. As the shot traveled, he sprinted madly into the fairway and then scissor-kick jumped to see the result. Shortly afterwards he became the youngest player ever to compete in the Ryder Cup.
When García first turned professional, he had an unorthodox swing with a circular loop and long large lag, and this method drew comparisons to Ben Hogan, one of the best players of all time. But during the 2003 season, he worked towards making his swing more conventional, but has largely kept his original method. In his early years, he repeatedly gripped, released, and regripped his hands on the club handle before finally taking a shot. This "waggle" habit created a stir, especially at the 2002 U.S. Open when some spectators shouted out, "Hit the ball, Sergio!", and some people audibly counted the number of regrips into the twenties. Since then he has eliminated the habit. Responding to criticism of his swing, he said, "My swing works for me, so why should I change it? I prefer to have a natural swing and play well rather than a perfect swing and not be able to play good."
At the age of 21, García won his first PGA Tour event at the 2001 MasterCard Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and then won again at the Buick Classic in New York the same year. He was the youngest Tour winner since Tiger Woods in 1996 at age 20. In 2002, García won the Mercedes Championships in early January, and in 2004, he won the EDS Byron Nelson Championship and the Buick Classic for the second time. His sixth PGA Tour victory came at the 2005Booz Allen Classic. He also plays a limited schedule on the European Tour, where he has won eleven times. In 2002, during a practice round, García made an albatross (double eagle) on the par-5 second hole at the Masters, one of the few players to have ever done so. On the 575-yard (526 m) hole at the Augusta National Golf Club, he holed a 253-yard (231 m) 2-iron following a 325-yard (297 m) drive.García in 2004
García was a member of the European Ryder Cup team in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2012, and holds an impressive career record at the Ryder Cup of 16–8–4 (.643). Four of his appearances have resulted in overall victories. He had risen into the top five of the Official World Golf Rankings, but after an inconsistent 2006 season, he dropped out of the top 10.
In the 2006 Ryder Cup, at the K Club in Republic of Ireland, García won both his fourball and foursome matches (with José María Olazábal and Luke Donald, respectively) on day one, beatingDavid Toms and Brett Wetterich in the fourballs and Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk in the foursomes. On day two, he paired up with Olazábal again, who won both their matches against Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco in both the foursomes and fourballs. Going into the final day in the singles, García was heavily tipped to be the first person to win all their matches in one Ryder Cup; however, Stewart Cink beat him 4 and 3. Europe won the cup again, with 18½ points to the United States' 9½ points.
In March 2007, García received criticism for a spitting incident at the WGC-CA Championship. During his third round García spat into the bottom of the cup on the 13th green after three-putting for bogey. After missing the cut in the first two major championships of 2007, García came close to winning The Open Championship – his favorite of the four majors – at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. He held the lead after each one of the first three rounds and carried a three-shot lead over Steve Stricker and a six-shot lead over the rest of the field into the start of the fourth day.
At an early stage of the last round, García had extended his lead to four shots, but bogeys at the 5th, 7th, and 8th holes brought him back to the field. On the final challenging hole, he needed a par to win, but failed to get up and down from the greenside bunker. The last putt on the 18th hole on Sunday, from about 8 feet (2.4 m), would have given him his first professional major. He missed it by a fraction and faced a four-hole playoff with Pádraig Harrington that he eventually lost by one stroke.
In his post-round news conference, García seemed to suggest that bad breaks had cost him the Open championship. During the playoff, on the long par-3 16th hole, his tee shot hit the flagstick but then bounced 20 feet (6 m) from the pin, off the green, and García could not convert for birdie. "It's not the first time, unfortunately," he stated. "I don't know... I'm playing against a lot of guys out there, more than the field." In the 2007 PGA Championship, he was disqualified after signing an incorrect scorecard after the third round.García's victory at the 2008 Players Championship
On 11 May 2008, García won The Players Championship on the PGA Tour in a sudden-death playoff against Paul Goydos. The playoff began at the par-3 17th, where Goydos hit a pitching wedge that ballooned and fell inches short of the island green and into the water, while García played a sand wedge to within four feet (1.3 m) of the hole. Goydos made double bogey while García made par for the win.
At the 2008 PGA Championship, played over the South Course of Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit, García narrowly missed out on winning his first professional major championship yet again. Like at the 2007 Open Championship, Pádraig Harrington was able to erase a García lead on the back nine to take the title. García finished two strokes back for his second runner-up finish at the PGA Championship. His most serious mistake during the final round was misjudging his second shot on the 16th, playing into a strong wind, which found the water in front of the par-4 hole's green, costing him sole ownership of the lead. Regarding another near-miss in a major championship, García stated, "I felt like I responded well, and he was obviously very good on the back nine, and things just happened his way."
On 26 October 2008, he won his first European Tour title in over three years, at the first playing of the Castelló Masters Costa Azahar at his home course, the Club de Campo del Mediterráneo in Castellón, Spain. With this win, he rose to a career high of third in the Official World Golf Rankings. He dedicated the victory to compatriot Seve Ballesteros, who was recovering from multiple operations on a brain tumor. He won the 2008 HSBC Champions, the opening event on the 2009 European Tour season on 9 November 2008 in a playoff over Oliver Wilson. This win notched him up to a career high second in the Official World Golf Rankings, replacing Phil Mickelson in that spot, who had ironically won the HSBC Champions in 2007. García earned more money than any other golfer in 2008, earning $6,979,959 in 26 events.
After his success in 2008, García had a very disappointing season in 2009, rarely contending and finished ranked 74th on the PGA Tour money list. He had more success on the European Tour where he finished tenth in the inauguralRace to Dubai. His slump continued into 2010, and after missing the cut at the US PGA Championship, García announced he was taking a break from golf and would miss the 2010 Ryder Cup. He also dropped out of the top 50 of theOfficial World Golf Rankings. Struggles with the putter were the primary cause of his slump, since his ballstriking remained among the best in the world. On 29 August 2010, European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie announced that García would be his fourth vice captain for the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
García returned to competitive play in late 2010 with a new putting grip and this produced better results for him on the greens during tournaments in 2011. After 36 holes, he was near the lead in both the 2011 Transitions Championship and the 2011 Byron Nelson Championship, but both times faded on the weekend to fall out of contention.
García had to withdraw from qualifying for the 2011 British Open because of an infected finger. He had originally planned against qualifying for the 2011 U.S. Open, where he was outside the top-50 in the OWGR and was not guaranteed automatic entry. He eventually earned a spot in the U.S. Open after being one of the top four at a qualifying tournament near Memphis. García played well in all four rounds of the U.S. Open, ending in a tie for seventh place at five-under par 279. Garcia finished tied for ninth place in The 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's. This was his 17th career top-10 finish in a major.
In late June 2011, García almost broke his winless streak dating back to 2008, when he lost at the fifth sudden-death playoff hole to fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal at the BMW International Open. García led the tournament after the 11th hole of the final round with a stunning stretch of holes, which saw him produce three birdies and two eagles in six holes, from holes six to eleven. However his charge to the finish was derailed by four bogeys in five holes, leaving him needing a birdie at the last to make the playoff. In the playoff, both players made consecutive birdies at the first two extra holes (both par 5s) before parring holes three and four (both par 3s). At the fifth extra hole, Garcia had a 30-foot (9 m) eagle putt for the victory, but ran the effort four feet (1.3 m) past the hole. The resulting putt lipped out, allowing Larrazábal to hole a two-foot birdie putt for the victory.
García's runner-up finish at the BMW International Open ensured qualification for the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's, through the current form money list exemption. García went on to finish tied for 9th place at the Open Championship, his best finish for four years. He continued the run at the 2011 PGA Championship where he finished in a tie for 12th place, extending his streak to 50 consecutive majors played, the longest streak among active players.
In October 2011, García ended a three-year title drought with back-to-back wins in his home country at the Castelló Masters and the Andalucía Masters. García won the Castelló Masters in dominant fashion, with a final score of 27-under-par, 11 strokes ahead of the field. It was the joint third highest victory margin on the European Tour, beaten only by Tiger Woods' 15 stroke victory at the 2000 U.S. Open and Ernie Els' 13 stroke win at the 2005 BMW Asian Open. After the win, García dedicated it to the late Seve Ballesteros, stating "That was for Seve."
The following week, García won the Andalucía Masters, played at the Club de Golf Valderrama, arguably regarded as one of the toughest golf courses on the European Tour. He edged out fellow countryman Miguel Ángel Jiménez by one shot after a tense final round. Following his back-to-back wins, García moved back into the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking. In August 2012, García ended a four-year title drought on the PGA Tour by winning the Wyndham Championship. In doing so, García also secured his place on the 2012 Ryder Cup team. In December 2012, García fired a final round 61 to win the Iskandar Johor Open on the Asian Tour.
At the 2013 Players Championship, García, while tied for the lead, hit three balls into the water on the 17th and 18th holes, finishing quadruple-bogey, double-bogey. He finished tied for 8th place.
After the Players Championship, Garcia and Tiger Woods (who won the tournament) had a public feud over an incident during the third round. Two weeks later, at a European Tour players dinner, Garcia was asked about meeting with Woods at the U.S. Open, to which he responded, "We'll have him 'round every night. We will serve fried chicken." The remark was seen as racially insensitive. Garcia issued a statement later that night apologizing and then issued another apology the next day, saying that his comments were "totally stupid and out of place."
Garcia is currently a bachelor. One of his most notable ex-girlfriends is former world number-one tennis player Martina Hingis, who helped him cope with the emotional side of the game. He has also had an on-and-off relationship withGreg Norman's daughter, Morgan-Leigh Norman, a graduate of Boston College; however, Garcia has confirmed the couple have now separated. However, García and Greg Norman are designing a new golf course in San Antonio.
Additionally, he keeps a close friendship with the Uruguayan football player Diego Forlán. They first met in Castelló when the latter was playing for the nearby La Liga club Villarreal. More recently, he has developed a close rapport with young Colombian star golfer Camilo Villegas, with the two often dining together at night. Also, Garcia has a close friendship with world tennis star Rafael Nadal.
Garcia is also an avid poker player, having played on the Poker Stars tour.
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||20 May 2001||MasterCard Colonial||−13 (69-69-66-63=267)||2 strokes||Brian Gay, Phil Mickelson|
|2||24 Jun 2001||Buick Classic||−16 (68-67-66-67=268)||3 strokes||Scott Hoch|
|3||6 Jan 2002||Mercedes Championships||−18 (73-69-68-64=274)||Playoff||David Toms|
|4||16 May 2004||EDS Byron Nelson Championship||−10 (66-68-65-71=270)||Playoff||Robert Damron, Dudley Hart|
|5||13 Jun 2004||Buick Classic (2)||−12 (70-67-68-67=272)||Playoff||Pádraig Harrington, Rory Sabbatini|
|6||12 Jun 2005||Booz Allen Classic||−14 (71-68-66-65=270)||2 strokes||Ben Crane, Davis Love III, Adam Scott|
|7||11 May 2008||The Players Championship||−5 (66-73-73-71=283)||Playoff||Paul Goydos|
|8||20 Aug 2012||Wyndham Championship||−18 (67-63-66-66=262)||2 strokes||Tim Clark|
PGA Tour playoff record (4–5)
|1||2001||The Tour Championship||Mike Weir, David Toms, Ernie Els||Weir won with birdie on first extra hole|
|2||2002||Mercedes Championships||David Toms||Won with birdie on first extra hole|
|3||2004||EDS Byron Nelson Championship||Dudley Hart, Robert Damron||Won with par on first extra hole|
|4||2004||Buick Classic||Rory Sabbatini, Pádraig Harrington||Won with birdie on third extra hole
Harrington eliminated with par on second hole
|5||2005||Wachovia Championship||Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk||Singh won with par on fourth extra hole
Garcia eliminated with par on first hole
|6||2007||The Open Championship||Pádraig Harrington||Lost four hole aggregate playoff
Harrington (3-3-4-5=15), García (5-3-4-4=16)
|7||2008||The Players Championship||Paul Goydos||Won with par on first extra hole|
|8||2008||The Barclays||Vijay Singh, Kevin Sutherland||Singh won with birdie on second extra hole
Sutherland eliminated with par on first hole
|9||2008||The Tour Championship||Camilo Villegas||Lost to par on first extra hole|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||4 Jul 1999||Murphy's Irish Open||−16 (69-68-67-64=268)||3 strokes||Ángel Cabrera|
|2||3 Oct 1999||Linde German Masters||−11 (68-69-72-68=277)||Playoff||Pádraig Harrington, Ian Woosnam|
|3||23 Sep 2001||Trophée Lancôme||−18 (68-65-68-65=266)||1 stroke||Retief Goosen|
|4||28 Apr 2002||Canarias Open de España||−13 (67-68-67-73=275)||4 strokes||Emanuele Canonica|
|5||17 Oct 2004||Mallorca Classic||−12 (66-67-68-67=268)||4 strokes||Simon Khan|
|6||4 Sep 2005||Omega European Masters||−14 (66-65-71-68=270)||1 stroke||Peter Gustafsson|
|7||26 Oct 2008||Castelló Masters Costa Azahar||−20 (66-65-66-67=264)||3 strokes||Peter Hedblom|
|8||9 Nov 2008||HSBC Champions1||−14 (66-68-72-68=274)||Playoff||Oliver Wilson|
|9||23 Oct 2011||Castelló Masters||−27 (67-63-64-63=257)||11 strokes||Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño|
|10||30 Oct 2011||Andalucía Masters||−6 (70-70-67-71=278)||1 stroke||Miguel Ángel Jiménez|
|11||25 Jan 2014||Commercial Bank Qatar Masters||−16 (71-67-69-65-272)||Playoff||Mikko Ilonen|
European Tour playoff record (3–4)
|1||1999||Linde German Masters||Padraig Harrington, Ian Woosnam||Won with birdie on second extra hole
Woosnam eliminated with par on first hole
|2||2001||Greg Norman Holden International||Aaron Baddeley||Lost to birdie on first extra hole|
|3||2004||Volvo Masters Andalucia||Ian Poulter||Lost to par on first extra hole|
|4||2007||The Open Championship||Pádraig Harrington||Lost four hole aggregate playoff
Harrington (3-3-4-5=15), García (5-3-4-4=16)
|5||2008||HSBC Champions||Oliver Wilson||Won with birdie on second extra hole|
|6||2011||BMW International Open||Pablo Larrazábal||Lost to birdie on fifth extra hole|
|7||2014||Commercial Bank Qatar Masters||Mikko Ilonen||Won with birdie on third extra hole|
1 Co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour
- 2002 Kolon Cup Korean Open
- 2008 HSBC Champions1
- 2012 Iskandar Johor Open
- 2013 Thailand Golf Championship
1 Co-sanctioned with the European Tour
- 1997 Catalonian Open Championship (Spain – not a European Tour event)
- 2001 Nedbank Golf Challenge (South Africa – unofficial event)
- 2003 Nedbank Golf Challenge (South Africa – unofficial event)
- 2010 Gary Player Invitational (with John Cook)
|The Open Championship||CUT||DNP||T29||CUT|
|The Open Championship||T36||T9||T8||T10||CUT||T5||T5||2||T51||T38|
|The Open Championship||T14||T9||CUT||T21|
LA = Low Amateur DNP = did not play CUT = missed the half way cut "T" = tied DQ = disqualified Yellow background for top-10
|The Open Championship||0||1||0||3||7||9||17||13|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 7 (2002 Masters – 2003 Open Championship)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 4 (2002 Masters – 2002 PGA)
|Accenture Match Play Championship||DNP||R16||DNP||R16||R64||R64||R16||DNP||R32||R32|
|Accenture Match Play Championship||R64||4||DNP||R64||R32||R16|
1Cancelled due to 9/11 DNP = Did not play QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play "T" = tied NT = No tournament Yellow background for top-10. Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.
|PGA Tour||European Tour|
|Season||Wins||Earnings (US$)||Rank||Wins||Earnings (€)||Rank|
* As of the 2013 seasons.
These figures are from the respective tour's official sites. Note that there is double counting of money earned in the majors and World Golf Championships.
- Jacques Léglise Trophy (representing Continental Europe): 1994, 1995, 1996 (winners), 1997, 1998
- Junior Ryder Cup (representing Europe): 1995 (winners), 1997
- Eisenhower Trophy (representing Spain): 1996, 1998
- St Andrews Trophy (representing Continental Europe): 1996, 1998
- Alfred Dunhill Cup (representing Spain): 1999 (winners)
- Ryder Cup (representing Europe): 1999, 2002 (winners), 2004 (winners), 2006 (winners), 2008, 2012 (winners)
- Seve Trophy (representing Continental Europe): 2000 (winners), 2003
- World Cup (representing Spain): 2001, 2004, 2005, 2009
- Driver: TaylorMade SLDR 9.5°, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana 100 X shaft
- Fairway Woods: TaylorMade SLDR (15.5°, 18.5°) Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana 100 X shaft
- Irons: 3–9 Irons: TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC
- Wedges: TaylorMade ATV 48°, 50°, 58°
- Putter: TaylorMade Spider mallet prototype
- Ball: TaylorMade Tour Preferred X