Sergio Garcia Biography
El Nino, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Further InformationCONTACT INFORMATION
Noticeably fun-loving and light-hearted among other more dignified golfers, Sergio "El Nino" Garcia shed his amateur status at age nineteen after accumulating twenty-one amateur victories. In 1999 as he claimed six tournament wins and picked up his first endorsement contract, he was regarded as the most promising professional golfer the year. Dubbed a wunderkind by some, Garcia easily piqued the interest of observers like no golfer since Tiger Woods.
Garcia was born on January 9, 1980 in Castellon, Spain. Golf was a way of life for his father, golf pro Victor Garcia, and mother Consuelo Fernandez, who was a pro shop employee. Both were employed at Club Del Campo del Mediterranean. Victor Garcia, who later joined the Professional Golf Association (PGA) European senior tour, personally taught his three children—Victor Jr., Sergio, and Mar—to play. Sergio, the middle child, took to the sport with the most flair.
Given his background, it was perhaps unremarkable when Garcia first won a junior tournament at age ten. When at age twelve he took the club championship at Del Campo, however, the significance of his victory was evident. It became clear that Garcia possessed a natural bent for the sport, and by age fourteen he had claimed a spot on the professional tour.
Garcia took the Topolino World Junior Championship in 1994, and the European Young Masters and European Amateur Championship in 1995. He went on to claim a total of twenty-one such victories over the next four years. In 1996, at age sixteen and still an amateur, he ranked third in scoring on the PGA tour. In his native Spain, he claimed four national amateur titles by that time: under sixteen, under eighteen, under twenty-one, and the Spanish Amateur. More impressive still was his win at the Catalonian Open Championship, a PGA (professional) event at age seventeen. Two years later he won the British Amateur of 1998 and was hailed as the best amateur worldwide.
Garcia turned pro on April 21, 1999. Simultaneously he picked up a five-year endorsement deal from Adidas. At the PGA Championship in Medinah, Illinois, in August of the year, he attracted international attention with a near upset of Woods. Garcia—the youngest participant in that event since 1921—lost by a single stroke.
After a professional debut at the Byron Nelson Classic in May, Garcia played his first major as a professional, at the British Open in June. One month later he snagged a tour win at the Murphy's Irish Open, to become the fourth youngest winner ever on the European tour. Garcia won six tournaments altogether during his first year as a pro. He finished second in the PGA that season, and by year's end his ranking had soared, from number 399, into the top twenty worldwide. He was hailed as the most promising professional of the year. On the PGA European tour that season he competed in twelve events, winning two.
Garcia was named to the 1999 European Ryder Cup team and to the Alfred Dunhill Cup Spanish team. After
ranking third on the PGA European tour of 1999, he was awarded the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.
Address: c/o PGA European Tour, Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey GU25 4LX England. Fax: +44(0)1344 840500. Phone: +44 (0)1344 840400. Online: www.europeantour.com.
Sketch by G. Cooksey
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