"Sergio's character is to enjoy life as he enjoys golf, the good with the bad," says Victor Garcia. "I know success will bring new difficulties, but I trust his basic character. He will find his way to enjoy it."
Still, the scrutiny has begun to intensify, with the favorite subject being Garcia's distinctive downswing. By dropping his arms at the beginning of the downswing, he is able to increase his wrist-cock and attack the ball as if he were cracking a whip. It's the main source of Garcia's power, but several admirers, including Johnny Miller, believe he will have to temper this "lag" (much as Woods has "rounded" his approach to the ball) or be doomed to fighting wild shots under pressure. "Sergio's move reminds me of Bobby Clampett, who was as good a teenage golfer as ever played," says Miller. "But that steep angle of attack didn't hold up as a pro, because it's built on youth and timing more than solid technique."
Perhaps, but Jesper Parnevik, who was paired with Garcia in the final two rounds at Loch Lomond, saw no hint of impending trouble. "Every other player his age I've ever seen has bad shots in his bag, the kind that ruin rounds," said Parnevik. "But Sergio doesn't have any bad shots. He might hit some better than others, but he doesn't have a bad shot he has to be afraid of."
Garcia is blithe in his agreement. Asked if he has ever experienced a slump, he says, "No, my game has always been quite good." Accordingly, he is eager to go up against the very best, although he is still unsure whether he will play the European or American tour next year or split time between the two. Until then, Garcia will meet Woods and Duval at Carnoustie, the PGA Championship and probably in the Ryder Cup.
Whatever happens, it's a good bet that the battle over who will rule golf will carry into the next millennium. If Garcia continues at the rate he's going, the so-called Showdown at Sherwood, a two-man exhibition between Duval and Woods on Aug. 2, may be wanting for a third.