I've always liked Sergio. His duel with Tiger at Medinah was awesome. He consistently played great in the Ryder Cup when I rooted exclusively for the Euros (I've since obtained my US citizenship so I can't lose, Bitches). He's starred in some pretty funny commercials (with Ernie and the hackers for TaylorMade and when he intentionally hit his ball into the hot girl's pool in an ad for...Michelob? Is that right? I don't remember) Finally, and most importantly, he got pissed off when he lost. He bitched about the golf gods when Padraig beat him at Carnoustie (in fairness his putt to win on 18 could've dropped and hitting the stick and bouncing 25 feet away in the playoff is a shit break), criticized the shape of Augusta and then his own game when playing Augusta and got so mad when Padraig beat him again at the PGA that he admitted to wanting to punch the Irishman in the head. I mean, what's not to love? He's an emotional guy. He's the rare pro who gives an honest, in-the-moment answer, yet clearly doesn't take himself too seriously off the course.
So back to that preview article: Anytime a player is featured in a preview article, he's bound to be mentioned throughout the tournament for better or worse. But last week, Sergio was neither...he was pretty good. He put himself in good shape opening with rounds of 68 and 67, but couldn't break 71 on the weekend and settled for a t-17. To go with his t-2 the week before, the Spaniard has had a VERY competent start to the season. And yet, to read the articles about the event, one would think that Sergio has basically ruined it. He hurt his shoulder in the second round and almost withdrew, but was playing so well he kept playing and was t-8 heading into the weekend. Now Sergio did say "Unfortunately we started playing well", a poor choice of words perhaps, but his point, as any non-idiot can see, is that playing well made the withdrawing decision decidedly more difficult than if he'd been playing like dog balls and that was unfortunate...for his shoulder! But the media were super-quick to print headlines like: "Sergio Laments Good Play". It's manipulative bullshit. Other players would be called tough as nails for gutting it out, but because Sergio gives writers an honest answer (the type of answer they claim to never receive) about the complexities of playing with an injury when you're in form in a long season they do what they always do: make Sergio look like a dick. Cut to Sunday's final round when Sergio, now out of contention and probably still hurting, gets a bad lie in a bunker, hits a shit shot and then takes a few frustrated swings at the sand and turf. Golf.com presented this 5-second episode as a "meltdown". Really??? I think we've seen worse. Much worse. From Sergio.
All of this is to say that I think the golf media's treatment of Sergio is willfully stupid, unfair and kind of dumb. The guy is good for the game, but most who cover the game are desperate to find another "incident" so they can cover Sergio the same way they've always covered him. So I guess it's willfully stupid, unfair, kind of dumb and...lazy.
I think Sergio wins the Open this year.