4 minute read

Sergio Garcia

El Nino

As a promising new professional and in part because of his youth, Garcia came under intense media scrutiny. Nicknamed El Nino (the child), he took criticism for the volatility of his standings and for the wrist action in his swing. Ironically comparisons between Garcia and Ben Hogan were drawn over the same topic of the wrist action in the swing. By June of 2000 he was ranked at number fifteen. With his stroke average up from 70.3 in 1999 to 70.9 in 2000, he finished his second year as a pro without winning a tournament. He finished out the season in the top thirty-six and ranked at twenty-one on the PGA European tour. The performance caused critics to question the volatility of his skill.

With his stroke average down to 69.5 by the end of 2001, he finished the season with two USA PGA tour wins. His victory at the Colonial tournament in Fort Worth on May 21 was his first on the U.S. tour. He added $750,000 to his winnings, bringing his purse for the year to $1.1 million at that point—barely four months after his twenty-first birthday. With a second U.S. win at the Buick Classic in June, his ranking climbed to number six worldwide. Going into the British Open that year, he was top-ranked for the tournament and ranked at number five worldwide. In September 2001 he took the Trophée Lancôme.

At age twenty-three, Garcia stands 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighs 159 pounds. He travels with an entourage that has come to be known as La Familia (the family). Members of the so-called family include a manager, assistant manager, caddie, strength coach, and an all-important English teacher as Garcia makes professional strides in the United States and in the British Commonwealth. Following his losing year in 2000 Garcia replaced his caddie, bringing Glenn Murray of South Africa into the family.

Garcia's steadily rising driving accuracy percentage went from 69.5 in 2000 to 72.6 in 2001. Likewise his average driving distance rose from 287.9 yards to 291.4 at the same time. When he arrived at the majors of 2002, he realized top ten finishes in each of the four tournaments. In recognition of his PGA tour win at the Mercedes Championship in January, he learned to drive in order to enjoy the spoils of his victory. Other wins of 2002 included the Canarias Open de Espana at Gran Canaria in April of that year.

Garcia, who maintains his residence in Borriol, purchased a home in Orlando, Florida, in 2002. His avocations include watching cartoons, and playing tennis and computer games. Although he is admired for his boyish charm and effervescence, his shenanigans have been known to annoy those more dignified denizens of the links. The most disastrous of his offenses occurred at the Greg Norman Holden International Tour in Australia on February 10, 2001. In the end he took home a fine of 5,000 pounds-sterling for what was initially described as an outburst and later as a flagrant disrespect for the rules. Regardless, Golf World maintained that "[r]aw energy," and "cocksure exuberance," are what Garcia is all about.


1980 Born January 9 in Spain
1996 Achieves third place in scoring on PGA tour while still a 16-year-old amateur
1999 Turns pro on April 21; signs with Adidas in April; becomes fourth youngest tour winner in history in July; wins two events of 12 played on European PGA tour; named to European Ryder Cup team (youngest participant ever)
2000 Ranks forty-second on earnings list; holds a ranking of fifteen in June; finishes the year ranked in top thirty-six worldwide
2001 Ranks at fifth worldwide; ranks at number one going into the 2001 British Open; is fined 5,000 pounds-sterling for an outburst at the Greg Norman Holden International Tour on February 10
2002 Earns $1,465,323 by May, to rank as the tenth-highest money-maker on PGA tour; finishes in top ten of the four major tournaments; purchases a home in Orlando, Florida

Awards and Accomplishments

1994 Topolino World Junior Championship
1995 European Young Masters Championship, European Amateur Championship
1996 Spanish Amateur Championship under-16, under-18, under-21
1997 Catalonian Open Championship (PGA event), European Masters Amateur Championship, French Amateur Championship, Spanish Amateur Championship, British Boys Championship, Grand Prix de Lendes, David Leadbetter Championship
1998 Spanish Amateur Championship, King of Spain Cup, Jacksonville Junior, European Amateur Masters, Puerta de Hierro Cup, British Amateur Championship
1999 Named Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year; won the Irish Open
2001 Master Card Colonial, Buick Classic; Trophée Lancôme
2002 Mercedes Championship; Canarias Open de Espana (Spanish Open)

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsGolfSergio Garcia Biography - El Nino, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Further Information - CONTACT INFORMATION