There never seems to be any middle ground where Sergio Garcia is concerned. Granted, I have only just watched him play nine holes on the opening day of the US Masters, but getting a read on his body language is almost as tough as reading the deep contours of Augusta National’s famous greens.

After completing the front half, the Spaniard had just sunk a ten-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole to go back to even. It was a rare highlight on the greens, where he seemed to take an age, using the belly putter (Taylor Made Itsy Bitsy Monza).

From the tee, his ball striking was magnificent. Playing with Oliver Wilson and Stuart Appleby, he consistently found himself in good positions only to lack conviction on the greens.

But you still get the odd smile. He is both jovial and accommodating: there was the joking with the crowd on the 2nd green, followed by a nice touch on the 4th tee when he chucked a couple of balls at some kids who waited.

Then come the irritations, like on the ninth fairway when he chatted loudly to someone in the crowd without realising Appleby was making his approach (which he sliced on the way to his third bogey in four holes). Purely accidental, and I’m sure it had no effect on the end result, but still…

With plenty of play left, this is not to detract anything from Garcia’s chances. Nobody wants to see him win more than me (why do you think I was following him). Rather just an early indication of where his form may take him if everything fails to click into gear…

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