Sergio Garcia remains upbeat despite 19th Major close call

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Garcia finished three shots behind McIlroy (©GettyImages)
Garcia finished three shots behind McIlroy (©GettyImages).

It has been the same old story for Sergio Garcia: close but no cigar.

On Sunday he finished in the top 10 at a Major for the 19th time in his professional career, but he is still searching for his maiden victory.

Garcia’s search for a title in one of golf’s four most prestigious events is one of the great mysteries in the sport – how could somebody of such talent not have finished top of the leaderboard at the US Open, US Masters, Open or the PGA Championship?

Major history

His first second place finish came in 1999 and he has been trying to better than ever since. It is an elusive title that seems to evade him no matter how hard he tries.

And, on Sunday the Open, he battled right up until the end. Garcia went into the day seven shots back from the eventual winner, Rory McIlroy, but had closed it down to two shots at one point.

Brilliant final round

It was a brilliant Sunday of golf from the Spaniard, but it wasn’t quite enough to breach the considerable gap that he had to scale at the start of the day.

Garcia made three birdies on the front-nine, followed by an eagle on the 10th to give himself a chance, but an awful bunker shot on the 15th, which didn’t make it out of the sand, meant that his challenge was over.

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However, the 34-year-old, who has seen McIlroy, nine years his junior, win three Majors, holds no grudges.

''Everyone looks at a second and they want to make it a negative. Not at all,'' Garcia said to reporters. ''I did almost everything I could.''

''There was a better player. It's as simple as that.''

Even so, the fact McIlroy was better must hurt. It wasn’t too long ago that Garcia was drawing all the plaudits McIlroy is. As a youngster, many felt he could dominate the game for years to come, but despite showing his talent in flashes, his lack of wins is a worry.

Looking at the positives

That said, Garcia is correct when he says that second place shouldn’t be considered a negative. Most would be delighted with a top ten finish at the Open, especially considering Garcia’s form has been excellent for most of the season so far.

This is his eighth top ten finish in 14 events on the tour and in the Majors this season, but it is his inability to be an outright winner that continues to worry.

And the concern is that time is starting to run out. Garcia is no longer a talented youngster, he is one of the games most experienced and established players and he must find the winning touch sooner rather than later.

Garcia's legacy

Garcia will always be remembered as one of golf's finest players, but he doesn’t want his over-riding legacy to be one where he is considered the most talented man never to win a Major.

If he doesn’t find out how to win more regularly soon, though, it may well be the case.

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