Posting a 6-under round at Augusta National on Thursday, Sergio Garcia looks as comfortable as his countryman Seve Ballesteros, who won twice here. But unlike his hero Ballesteros, Garcia has never been a fan of Augusta National. After finishing T38 in 2009, Garcia called the course unfair.
"I don't like it, to tell you the truth. I don't think it is fair," Garcia said. "Even when it's dry you still get mud balls in the middle of the fairway. It's too much of a guessing game."
Asked what he would change about the course, Garcia said, "They can do whatever they want. It's not my problem. I just come here and play and then go home."
He apologized a few days later.
"Out of frustration, I blamed the golf course instead of putting the blame where it belongs, on myself. I didn't get it done this week," Garcia said. "Augusta National is one of the most iconic golf courses in the game and playing in the Masters each year is an honor. I apologize to the members of Augusta National and the fans who rightfully treasure this golf course."
He was true to his word in 2012, blaming himself, not the Augusta National course, after a disappointing Saturday 75 knocked him of contention.
"I'm not good enough," Garcia said. "In 13 years, I've come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place."
"Do you think I lie when I talk? Everything I say, I say it because I feel it. If I didn't mean it, I couldn't stand here and lie like a lot of the guys do," Garcia said. "If I felt like I could win, I would do it. Unfortunately at the moment, unless I get really lucky in one of the weeks . . . I can't really play much better than I played this week and I'm going to finish 13th or 15th."
On Sunday of the 2012 Masters, Garcia shot a 1-under 71 to finish T12, but it didn't cheer him up and he doubled-down on his "not good enough" comment.
However, in 2013, Garcia is feeling better about his game. He got his first PGA Tour win in more than four years at the Wyndham Championship in Augusta, and he sounded sanguine about his chances at Augusta National during his post-round interview on Thursday:
Q. Thought you hated it here (laughter).
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I mean, well, obviously it's obviously not my favorite, my most favorite place, but you know, we try to enjoy it as much as we can each time we come here. Sometimes it comes out better than others, but today it was one of those good days. And you know, let's enjoy it while it lasts.
Q. Did it help you that you had maybe that lower expectation coming here?
SERGIO GARCIA: Lower expectation, maybe that's what you say. Every time I tee off in a tournament, my goal is to play the best I can and have a chance at winning. So it doesn't change this week.
Like I said, today was a nice day. It was one of those days that you really, really enjoy, and, you know, hopefully I'll have three more of those and we'll see what happens on Sunday night.
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