SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP)Nobody has collected more wins at the Ryder Cup than Sergio Garcia.
That’s a great thing for his career.
It’s not so great that it’s also true about him and his flailing team from Europe this week.
Garcia surpassed Nick Faldo on Saturday with his 24th career victory at the event he treasures the most, but it came on a morning in which Europe fell even further behind – 9-3 to an American team that can’t be stopped by anyone outside of Spain.
”It’s great but it’s not,” Garcia said shortly after he and countryman Jon Rahm closed out their 3-and-1 victory over Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger. ”We need more wins and unfortunately we are not getting them at the moment.”
Garcia has paired up with Rahm twice to start the morning foursomes matches at Whistling Straits, and the new Spanish Armada has gone 2-0.
But not one of their 10 teammates had joined them in the win column through the first three sessions, and the Europeans were staring at the largest deficit through three rounds since Spain was allowed into the Ryder Cup in 1979.
”Obviously Jon and I, we did what we had to and what we could,” Garcia said. ”And unfortunately it just looks like the American guys are just playing a little bit better than us. And it’s a shame.”
One could only imagine this match fitting into one of Europe’sclever social-media videos if the rest of this week weren’t shaping up as such a complete disaster.
There was Garcia, looking chilled and old on the first tee box – doing nothing inspired as he and Rahm limped their way to a 3-down deficit after three holes.
And then, there he was, starting a putt perfectly on line on No. 7 but leaving it a foot short, then burying his face in his hand.
But then, there he was, holing out from in front of the green on No. 9 to suddenly pull the Spaniards back to even.
And there he was, laughing so hard he spit out his drink while Koepka argued with the rules officials on 15. And then came the shot Garcia ripped from 250 yards out to 5 feet to set up an eagle on the par-5 16th. It came just after he heard someone in the crowd shout out that he was going to choke. Instead, he all but put the match away.
”It was nice to prove him wrong, I guess,” Garcia said.
From such a dreary start, Garcia and Rahm were all smiles and back slaps as they turned that three-shot deficit into a lead and closed out Koepka and Berger on the 17th hole.
”We support each other all throughout, and even at the bad times, we were making each other smile and I think that was the biggest part,” Rahm said.
Given how well it’s working – how it’s the only thing working – captain Padraig Harrington was all but forced to pair up the Spaniards again in the afternoon fourball matches – a series the 41-year-old Garcia missed the day before. They were matched against Koepka and Spieth.
If nothing else, a good time to try to pad the stats.
Garcia improved to 24-12-7 in his 10 Ryder Cup appearances, and with every win, he can expand on both his records in victories (24) and points (27 1/2), leaving the likes of Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Arnold Palmer even further in the dust.
But Garcia knows this as well as anyone: More than any event in golf, the Ryder Cup is not about individual numbers. And unless he starts getting some help – lots of it – he will stay stuck on six, which is the number of winning Ryder Cup teams he’s been part of.
”We are trying to win the match so we can take points on our favor and take points away from the U.S.,” Garcia said. ”But we need more. At the moment, we are not getting them.”
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