Before Sergio Garcia graciously won the Masters last week, outdueling fellow European Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose in a playoff, he had, to some, been seen as a curmudgeon.
Padraig Harrington, a three-time major champion, added to Garcia's previous heartbreak by beating him in the 2007 British Open. He recentlycommented on Garcia's inability to cope with the loss.
"I gave him every out I possibly could at the 2007 Open," Harrington said, via golfchannel.com."I was as polite as I could, and as generous as I could be. But (Garcia)was a very sore loser, and he continued to be a very sore loser. So clearly after that, we had a very sticky wicket I'd say. TheRyder Cupobviously improved it to no end. But look, we say hello to each other every day we meet, but it's with gritted teeth, there's no doubt about it."
The tournament Harrington referred to ended in a playoff at famed Carnoustie Golf Links. Garcia had several chances to win, but continuously missed putts down the stretch.
"His is a very flamboyant game, everything comes easy. There were periods he never practiced," Harrington said. "I worked at it, grinded it out, got the best of it. I'm very strong with the etiquette of the game, so I don't tolerate people spitting in the hole, throwing their shoes or throwing golf clubs. That would be my attitude, and that would be quite clear from where I came from."
With that being said, Harrington, who has worked with Garcia on European Ryder Cup teams, was happy Garcia finally got over the hump and claimed his first major championship.
"I was delighted to see the emotion on the 18th green," he said. "Anybody watching that has got to feel for him and see, maybe I'm a bit harsh in the fact that I look at it and say, 'Well, everything comes easy to Sergio.' But clearly, it hasn't come easy to him. It really hasn't. And you could see in that moment in time that, you know, he probably paid his dues."
Garcia and Rose were commemorated for their good sportsmanship while battling Sunday. It appears Garcia has matured since his days of spitting in the cup and continuously whining about other players.