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Sergio Garcia has won 25 times in the U.S. and Europe, including 10 PGA Tour titles highlighted by the 2017 Masters. But in the eye of Hall-of-Famer Tony Jacklin, that haul pales in comparison to what might have been.
Jacklin won two majors during his playing career, the 1969 Open and 1970 U.S. Open, and captained the European Ryder Cup team four times in the 1980s. Speaking to Golfweek, the Englishman picked Garcia when asked to name the biggest underachiever in golf he had ever seen.
“He’s been one of the best players on the planet for the last 20 years and doesn’t have much to show for it,” Jacklin said. “Seve (Ballesteros) had more courage in his little finger than this lad. Don’t get me wrong, Sergio has been a prolific winner, but he had the ability to win double-digit majors. (Lee) Trevino once said, ‘God never gave one man everything.’ Garcia would be one that jumps out to me.”
Garcia burst onto the scene at the 1999 PGA Championship, finishing second behind Tiger Woods at age 19. He has had several close calls in the majors in subsequent years, notably losing a playoff to Padraig Harrington at the 2007 Open and finishing T-2 behind the Irishman at the 2008 PGA. Garcia did win The Players in 2008, but it took until 2017 for him to finally break through in a major when he edged Justin Rose in a Masters playoff.
In 2018, Garcia passed Nick Faldo as the leading scorer in Ryder Cup history, and Jacklin believes that the team environment of the biennial matches helps the Spaniard produce bigger results than the solitude of a major championship. While Garcia has won three times on the European Tour since slipping into his green jacket, he has not won again on the PGA Tour and Jacklin believes his best golf is now behind him.
“He’s (40) now, and I can’t see him being born again,” Jacklin said. “To think that he’s only won one major as a ball-striker like he is, well, it’s mind-boggling.”