Garcia: McIlroy less afraid to hit driver than Tiger
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Sergio Garcia has 19 career top-10 finishes in major championships, making him the groomsman but never the groom.
But he's been up close and personal to watch Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy take home the hardware, giving him a unique perspective on how the two heavyweights go about their business at a major.
"I think obviously they are both great players. I think to me, it feels like – I don't know, obviously I haven't played with Tiger for a while. But when they are both at their best, to me it seems like Rory is less afraid of hitting driver, and when he's hitting it as well as he's hitting it now, he's hitting it very far and quite straight," Garcia said in a press conference prior to the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla.
"So obviously it makes a lot of holes a lot easier, you know, where most of the guys are hitting 7-iron and he's hitting wedge. So it's a little bit of an advantage at that point. You still have to hit a good drive, so it doesn't mean that it's easy."
Garcia has made his 2014 season look quite simple, picking up eight top-10 finishes, which is tied for second on Tour with McIlroy, Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell. But he doesn't have a victory to show for it, which Jack Nicklaus said was a product of "bad timing" on Garcia's part, as McIlroy is gaining all the attention with his back-to-back victories at the Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational that left Garcia in second place in each instance.
"I wouldn't say bad timing. I think playing well, it's always great. And if somebody else is playing better than you, there's nothing you can do," said Garcia, who has four career top-10s at the PGA Championship, including second-place finishes in 1999 and 2008.
Garcia admits that he is in a positive place both on and off the course, with a natural maturation contributing to steadier play and the ability to keep himself in tournaments.
"Obviously finishing second is not the greatest but, you know, the only guy that loses is the one that has a chance of winning," Garcia said.
". . . I'd rather finish second and lose than be 50th and not have a chance."