G-Mac on Sergio: "I think everyone needs a little good karma"

Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia embrace after the Ulsterman's Ryder Cup winning performance at Celtic Manor in 2010. Picture Manus O'Reilly/www.golffile.ie

Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia embrace after the Ulsterman's Ryder Cup winning performance at Celtic Manor in 2010. Picture Manus O'Reilly/www.golffile.ie

Sergio Garcia's sporting concession to Rickie Fowler might be the first bit of positive PR that the Spaniard has received in a long time.

Whether it's enough to reverse the trend remains to be seen but given the number of controversies the man from Borriol has generated over the year — the spitting, the club-throwing, the victimism, the Tiger Woods "fried chicken" remark — remains to be seen.

In case you missed it, Garcia got a drop at the sixth because his ball came to rest near some bees that had been attracted to a sprinkler head at the edge of the green.

Sergio Garcia during the third round in Tucson. Picture Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ie

Sergio Garcia during the third round in Tucson. Picture Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ie

Fowler had an eight foot birdie putt which he eventually missed and Garcia felt he might have taken too long over his ruling and offered him a generous half at the seventh where he had just five feet for par and the American was 18 feet away.

"I feel like unfortunately the game lately hasn't been what it should be," said Garcia, who was three up after nine but lost 1 up.  "I think that we are gentlemen. That's the key thing in this game of golf.  I felt guilty. I felt guilty that my drop on 6 took so long.

"I felt like if I would have been in his position I would have been uncomfortable waiting so long to hit my birdie putt. So I just thought I have to do something. I have to do something to make sure that I feel good with myself. And I had the opportunity on 7 to give a nice half.

"It wasn't like my putt was a foot and he had to make a 15 or 16 footer. I still had a four or five footer. At least I can leave here feeling good, even though that I lost. And that's all there is to it."

McDowell was surprised to hear about the incident but believes it's good for the game given the rules controversies that have cropped up in recent months.

He said: "There is no doubt, rules infringements, some of the things that have happened the last 12 months, I feel they make our game look a little fickle sometimes and make it look a little silly when the rules are so complex and complicated

"When a guy is not trying to gain and advantage and gets penalised unfairly, perhaps because of something out of his control or something he is not even aware of. But they are there for everyone's protection at the same time. It's hard. It's a funny old game, so I am looking forward to seeing [the replay of] that."

Asked if Garcia might be due some good karma having suffered some self-inflicted PR blows over the years, he said: "I think everyone needs a little good karma.

"Sergio has had more ups and downs than any uber-talented kid, going all the way back to Medinah, to Carnoustie. He's got the skills, he's got the talent, there's no doubt about it. 

"It is good to see him back with his passion for the game of golf. He self-confessed didn't enjoy the sport for years there. He'd have rather been back in Spain on the football pitch with his team. 

"So he's great for our game, I think and it's good to see him with a little bit of passion and desire for the game again."