Sweet Start Turns Sour for Garcia
SUTTON COLDFIELD, England -- Sergio Garcia began the afternoon back nine Saturday by leaping with glee onto the back of playing partner Lee Westwood, his fourth straight Ryder Cup win already in sight.
He ended it by flinging his ball into the water by the 18th green and kicking his golf bag in disgust after missing two putts on the final two holes that could have sealed a win over Tiger Woods and Davis Love III.
As exuberant as he was in victory, Garcia was equally dismayed in defeat.
Garcia may be the leader of the European team and a budding rival to Tiger Woods. But the tempestuous 22-year-old is often a boy at heart.
"You've got to understand the guy is a superstar," European captain Sam Torrance said. "And he's just lost a match he felt he probably could have won. Kicked the bag. Good thing I wasn't there, he probably would have kicked me."
"That's the Ryder Cup. That's the beautiful thing about it. It's not easy," Garcia said.
Garcia goes off in the second pairing today against David Toms with a chance to give his team some momentum in the singles matches.
American captain Curtis Strange said it will interesting to see how he reacts.
"I want to see how Garcia comes back after today," Strange said.
Driving the 10th
After only one player (Garcia) tried to drive the 10th in the first 12 matches, four gave it a whack in the afternoon best-ball. Besides David Duval and Jesper Parnevik, Garcia and Westwood landed on or near the green.
Some European fans good-naturedly booed the American team of Woods and Love, two of the game's longest hitters, when they choose to lay up with short irons.
"We discussed it earlier in the week, and we decided it wasn't a good play," Love said. "Sergio's ball hit a tree and it easily could have gone in the lake. If it was such a good play, then why are few people trying it?"
Expect nobody to try and drive the 10th in today's singles because they don't have a partner to rely on.
Elin Nordegren has been Tiger Woods ' No. 1 fan as well as his girlfriend this week.
She faithfully walked all four matches with Woods, rooting him on.
Today, she'll do the same. But she may have some conflicting loyalties.
Woods will play Sweden's Jesper Parnevik in the last singles match. Nordegren was nanny to Parnevik's children when she met Woods.
She's also Swedish, but that didn't stop her from wearing a cross with an American flag design on it while following Woods on Saturday.
Bush on Course
Former President George Bush was on hand Saturday to cheer for the American team.
He rode around The Belfry in a golf cart to watch some of the matches. Later, he talked briefly to the players in the team room.
Asked what message Bush delivered, Strange said: "Just good luck, enjoy the day, good luck, go get 'em."
Home Court Advantage
The crowds at The Belfry have been large and appreciative of the European team. Torrance is trying his best to get them to be even more vocal today.
The European captain stacked his best players at the beginning of the lineup for the 12 singles matches, hoping that they will ignite the crowd and spread momentum to other players.
It's completely opposite of the European strategy at Brookline in 1999, where the best players were held until last and the momentum swung to the American side.
Don't I Know You?
Suzanne Torrance, the wife of the European captain, has been easy to spot as she trails the action. But if she looks slightly familiar, you might not want to confess to it. Torrance, then known as Suzanne Danielle, starred as Emmannuelle Prevert in the 1978 soft-porn movie "Carry On Emmannuelle." According to one review, it was "total rubbish."
Woods made seven birdies and could have added two more on short putts if Love hadn't already birdied those holes. . . . Woods is now 2-2 this year and 5-8-1 overall in Ryder Cup play. . . . Parnevik's pairing with Garcia was the first time he has played in this Cup.
"We have good chemistry because he's the best player in the world."
-- Davis Love III, on playing with Tiger Woods.