They say close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Sergio Garcia knows that better than anyone right now. Though a second-place finish is nothing to scoff at, Garcia is probably growing tired of them.
Sunday's final round at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational was the second consecutive tournament in which Garcia finished as runner-up to champion Rory McIlroy after leading at the start of the day.
It was, in fact, the third consecutive tournament Garcia finished as runner-up. Garcia also finished second to Kevin Streelman at the Travelers Championship in June, making it three consecutive PGA Tour events where Garcia came up just short.
"I hit a couple bad putts early on and lost a bit of confidence," Garcia said. "And 1/8McIlroy3/8 has done really, really well. He made four birdies in the first five and the one he missed, it was quite close too. So he really did what he needed to do, and unfortunately, I wasn't up to the challenge I guess."
Putting was what got Garcia into the position he was in heading into the final round, and it was also what took him out of it. In Garcia's record-setting back nine on Friday in which he shot a 27, he made 11 consecutive one-putts. On Sunday, heavy rain in the morning had Garcia feeling like he was putting on new greens on the South Course at Firestone Country Club.
"I didn't feel comfortable on the greens at all," Garcia said. "With the spin of the greens changing quite dramatically after rain, they got a little bit -- they were quite slow from the last three days. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get it. I started kind of second-guessing myself every singe putt."
Adding insult to injury, Garcia almost had to buy a new diamond ring.
On the third hole, Garcia hit an errant tee shot that hit a female spectator on the hand and knocked the diamond out of her engagement ring. When nobody could find the diamond for several minutes (it was eventually found), Garcia had someone inside the ropes take the fan's contact information in case he needed to make it up to her.
"I was prepared to buy her one," Garcia said. "I don't know how Kathy 1/8his girlfriend3/8 would have felt about that, but other than that, it was OK."
(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services