SPORTS INSIDER WEEKLY – Sergio Garcia wins Masters; Nats drop weekend series to Phillies

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Ceci Ferrara
April 10, 2017
Sports Writer
Sports Insider Weekly

Photo: Tour Pro Golf Clubs

Sergio Garcia entered the final round of the 2017 Masters with a chance to put the past behind him. Garcia, 37, had been 0 for 73 tries in major victories before Sunday, with a reputation of being a sore loser. The Spanish-born golfer was well known to U.S. golf fans for throwing tantrums after bad shots, accuse USGA officials of granting favored-nations status to Tiger Woods, and blame everyone else but himself for his losses. On Sunday, he appeared to have matured, acknowledging his past immature behavior in a post-tournament press conference.

“In the past I would have been going, you know, complaining at my caddie,” Garcia said of his shot on hole 13 that fell in some flowers. “You know, why doesn’t the shot go through and whatever. But I was like, well, if that’s what is supposed to happen, let it happen. Let’s try to make a great five here and see if we can put a hell of a finish to have a chance. And if not, we’ll shake Justin’s hand and congratulate him for winning.”

Those chances came immediately–a birdie on 14 and an eagle on 15, which bounced off the flag stick. The calmer mentality helped see him through the final few holes, particularly the 18th which turned into a playoff with Justin Rose. With a one-shot advantage, Garcia putted the ball in for the victory–his first major win in his 18-year career. Rose, who finished second at the Masters in 2015, accepted the loss with grace.

“You know, good for Sergio,” the English golfer said. “Often he feels like he’s not supported the way he would like to be in America, and it was encouraging to see the crowd get behind him. I think that they realized he paid his dues, and they realized he’s been close so many times. Obviously people felt strongly it was his time.”

While Garcia’s golf skills were obviously showcased on Sunday, was most proud of he had persevered. “Definitely the most pleasing aspect was the demonstration of my character, and my mentality,” the newest member of the green jacket club said.

Nationals

The Washington Nationals kicked off the 2017 season with back-to-back victories against the Marlins last week. Since then they have stumbled a bit, losing three of their last four games. After beating the Phillies 7-6 in the series opener on Friday, the Nats had a rough weekend. Veteran Jeremy Guthrie started for Washington on Saturday, marking his first major league start since 2015.

Unfortunately, the game, which fell on the pitcher’s 38th birthday, was abysmal. Guthrie was taken out in the first inning with two outs, after having given up 10 runs. It was reminiscent of the worst start of his careers, when he gave up 9 hits, 11 earned runs, and 3 walks.

The Nats lost the game 17-3 and the next day Guthrie was designated for assignment and Matt Albers was called up from the minors.

They fared better on Sunday, allowing only four runs, but it wasn’t enough for a win. Their offense was only able to put runs on the board in the top of the ninth, when Ryan Zimmerman homered to tie the game. The Phillies were able to avoid extra innings by adding a run in the bottom of the inning for a narrow 4-3 victory.

So far, the Nationals (3-3) haven’t been on the top of their game. They have struggled both on the mound and behind the plate, unable to dominate teams with either pitching or offense. Thankfully, the season is long, and it’s still early, so Washington has plenty of time to work out the kinks.

The Nats will attempt to bounce back in a three-game series against the Cardinals (2-4) this week, before hosting the Phillies for a rematch next weekend.

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