Sergio Garcia had a shocking display at the Masters as defending champion, but he has vowed that it will not ruin the rest of his season
Garcia’s title defence at Augusta National effectively came to an embarrassing early end when he took an amazing 13 shots to play the 15th hole in the opening round.
The 38-year-old dumped five balls into the water on the par five, where he made a crucial eagle in the final round in 2017, to record the highest score on the hole in tournament history.
After his second shot – with a six iron from 206 yards – found the water in front of the green, Garcia took a penalty drop and left himself around 90 yards to the green, but repeatedly hit wedge shots onto the putting surface and watched them spin back into the hazard.
Garcia went on to shoot rounds of 81 and 78 to finish in a tie for 82nd in the 87-man field, but insists the incident was quickly put out of his mind.
“Probably as soon as we finished on Friday afternoon it was pretty much forgotten and the week was over,” Garcia told a pre-tournament press conference in San Antonio.
“I think at the end of the day you’ve got to realise that sometimes it happens, sometimes it goes the wrong way, and without doing much wrong it can happen. But you learn from it and you move forward and try to be better.
“If my ball with a six iron bounces up and goes to, I don’t know, five feet or something like that, even if I don’t make eagle we’re probably having a different conversation. I’m probably shooting even par or even one over that first round.
“With a decent round on Friday, I have a chance of contending. Unfortunately, what happened happened and you can start trying to make excuses that I had a lot of things to do coming into the week or during the week, yes, but we’re used to those things. I’m not going to put that as an excuse of why the week went the way it went.”
Asked if what happened on the 15th represented the lowest point in his career, Garcia added: “No, no, not really.
“Maybe if that would have happened on Sunday last year after hitting my shot, if it hits the pin dead on and goes in the water, it probably would have been harder.
“Knowing that you can go there [as a former champion] every year, it kind of helps. If I play it 30 more times we’ll have some years where things go our way and some years where it doesn’t.
“You’ve just got to deal with it and keep moving forward. Obviously the Masters, it’s massive, it’s very important, but it’s one week and you can’t let one week ruin your whole year.”