Open Championship 2013 blog: Sergio Garcia still in it

I’ve just come back off the course, where I spent a good hour and a half watching Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington compete in the Open Championship.

The Irishman, whilst struggling with his game, was at least doing so in good spirits. Garcia, on the other hand, was strolling around with his characteristic disinterestedness and distinct lack of smile.

I’m not here to comment on his demeanour as a golfer, but you do sometimes feel a smile here and there could do him some good. That and a slightly quicker pre-shot routine and a greater sense of urgency.

Still, we all have our faults, and some of his play today was superb. His iron play was imperious; his long game excellent and his course management effective. Improvement in the short-range putting department were also evident.

Given the aforementioned, it’s surprising that his mantlepiece still lacks a major trophy. Sometimes it’s just a small break here or a small break there. The margins in golf are extremely small, and Garcia’s winless major record bears testament to that.

Garcia is undoubtedly good enough to win one of golf’s big four, but only if he combines his superb all-round game with some mettle. Both Justin Rose and Adam Scott have spoken this week about their sheer determination and refusal to be beaten facilitating their respective major triumphs, and you just feel Garcia lacks that edge.

Still, that’s a statement that used to apply to Rose and Scott. They managed to find that additional mental fortitude, and sooner or later, you feel Garcia will, too. The Spaniard is in the same age bracket as this year’s major winners, and seeing two friends fulfil their golfing dreams should act as a catalyst.

Who knows, it could be this week. As I write this, Garcia is three-over-par – six back of leader Miguel Jimenez. If the conditions toughen up, that gap could be reduced.

The course, as it has been all week, is firm and fast, and this morning’s overcast conditions have now given way to baking sunshine. What’s more, the wind – which has changed direction slightly – is also picking up considerably.

Yes, it’d take an unexpected series of events for Garcia to be holding the Claret Jug come Sunday evening. But this is golf. Stranger things have certainly happened.