By Robert Bicknell
OK, by now, every golfer on the planet must have seen Sergio Garcia’s meltdown in the bunker during the “Saudi International” tournament.
A few friends of mine must have watched the video carefully before laughing and saying “Robert has that beat” because I once had an epic meltdown in a bunker at Thủ Đức (back in the day) when the greens crew put way too much sand in there. Yeah, I looked like a gopher digging down to the liner before calling the superintendent and screaming my head off.
While, I might have had a few “anger management issues” back then, for the record, there WAS way too much sand in there (45+ cm to be exact, whereas it is supposed to be 10-15cm MAX).
However, that memory will live forever in the minds of my friends, and mine too. It was pretty funny in hindsight, but probably terrifying to any sane individual watching it.
Sergio is Spanish, ergo, the famous “Latin temper” comes out from time to time. I wish I could say that I’ve got him beat for meltdowns in the past, but the truth is I’m an amateur in comparison.
Remember the time he kicked his shoe around the tee box? OK, that’s creativity I could never match. Smashing a microphone on the tee box and spitting in the cup after retrieving his ball are two things I’d never contemplate doing.
He might have got the idea from a player back in the 30’s and 40’s named Ky Laffoon who used spit tobacco juice all over the greens and, yes, even spat into the cups much to the chagrin of the competitor who followed him and, after holing a putt, reached in to extract his ball.
OK, Ball goes left, Sergio’s club goes right. I can identify with that, and so can many other players worldwide. However, tossing my clubs into a lake is something I’ve never done, or even thought about, but I know a foreign pro in Viêt Nam who did it.
Sergio has sent more than a few clubs so deep even Aquaman couldn’t find it.
However, despite the bunker meltdown, Sergio wasn’t finished self-destructing in the Saudi event. He finally got DQ’d (disqualified) for “damaging five greens” in fits of anger. The rule which got him was 1.2a (aka the “sportsmanship rule”, which was implemented this year, along with a slew of others).
Sergio made no attempt to justify his DQ and admitted it was deserved. He promised it would never happen again. That is, until the next time because, well, Sergio is Sergio.
Personally, I think he needs to visit us here in Việt Nam again. The Bluffs seems to calm him down.
Yet, Sergio isn’t alone in the wild temper category. We can start with Tiger Woods frequent F-Bombs after a less than desirable shot outcome, or John Daly and Phil Mickelson both got so peeved they intentionally hit a moving ball. Even Jack Nicklaus let loose with two club throws and four shots to get out of St. Andrews’ Hell Bunker in 1995. Tommy Bolt’s entire career would be remembered by his ability to helicopter a club down the fairway.
But the hands down champion of temper has got to be Wilbur “Lefty” Stackhouse who played on the PGA Tour in the 1930’s and 40’s, and made Happy Gilmore look like Mother Theresa.
He once hooked his drive badly and walked up to a thorny rosebush; thrust his right hand into the bush screaming “That will teach you to roll on me!” When he pulled back his hand, it was covered in blood. He then shoved his left hand into the bush screaming, "You are going to suffer also!"
He once missed an 18-inch gimmie putt, ran off the green and bashed his head repeatedly against a tree. He threw himself into bunkers in frustration, tossed his clubs into a lake, and then walked in after them before emerging out the other side of the lake, dripping wet, and into the clubhouse.
By diving into a thorny bush near the 18th green of an event in which he played poorly, Stackhouse virtually crucified himself. Alarmed, one of his finishing partners asked an impaled Lefty if he could help him out of the thorns.
“No,” he said, “I deserve this.”
Trust me, I understand completely…