Sergio Garcia feels he is unlucky
Sergio Garcia insisted he would bounce back from the trauma of throwing away his chance to claim his first major title at a Open he had led from the opening day.
The petulant tenor of his remarks after losing out to Padraig Harrington in a play-off on Sunday evening however suggest that this was an experience that could leave lasting scars on the 27-year-old's psyche.
Garcia had started the final round with a three shot lead over his nearest rival and six ahead of Harrington.
And despite a closing 73, he would still have won if he had been able to par the final hole after Harrington had twice found water on the 18th.
Instead, he opted for an iron off the tee, leaving himself with a three-iron second that he deposited into a greenside bunker before seeing his ten-foot par putt lip out.
But the Spaniard was still convinced he had scarcely put a foot wrong.
"I definitely struggled a little bit on the front nine - I had my opportunities but I didn't convert them," he said.
"But then I felt like I played great on the back nine. I felt like when you need to play well, I rarely missed a shot, and I just couldn't really make any putts."
Garcia also aimed a potshot at the Carnoustie groundstaff, claiming he had been made to wait an unnecessarily long time before playing his approach to the 72nd hole
"Having to wait 15 minutes in the fairway doesn't help when you're trying to win the British Open," he moaned.
"When you're one shot in front, hitting a 3 iron into a green where there's danger everywhere, having to wait at least 15 minutes to hit your shot doesn't help. It doesn't help at all. I wasn't very happy about that.
"It seemed to take a long time, a very long time just to rake two bunkers."
Despite the increased pressure generated by the wait, Garcia had been confident he could still clinch victory without having to go into a play-off.
"I still don't know how that par putt missed," he said. "I'm still trying to ask myself. I thought it was there but it just moved a little left and lipped out."
Harrington claimed an ultimately decisive two-shot advantage at the first hole of the four-hole play-off when he produced a superb birdie while Garcia bogeyed after landing in a greenside bunker.
That fact appeared to have been forgotten by the Spaniard when he claimed: "I should write a book on how to not miss a shot in the playoff and shoot one over."
Garcia's acute sense that he is uniquely cursed would have been encouraged by his experience of playing the second play-off hole, par three 16th, where his tee shot struck the pin and ricocheted to about 20 feet from the hole.
"It is funny some guys hit the pin and it goes in or goes to a foot away. Mine hit the pin and it ends up 20 feet away. The saddest thing is, I'm playing a lot of guys out there, not just the field.
"It seems to me that every time I get in this kind of position I have no room for error. I rarely get any good breaks."
His comments may suggest otherwise, but Garcia insisted he would be able to cope with an experience that is bound to result in much speculation about whether he ever will be able to claim the major title he has been expected to win since he finished second to Tiger Woods at the 1999 US PGA as a 19-year-old.
"I'm fine," he said. "I'm disappointed but the week is over. Padraig played well, good enough to win. I've just got to get better, there is nothing else I can think about at the moment."
July 24, 2007