It’s slightly unusual that two European golfers, given all the team-bonding that goes on during the Ryder Cup, engage in such a heated rivalry, but that didn’t stop Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington.
The two’s relationship devolved through a combination of being opposite personality types and heated competitors, strained further after a number of closely-contested majors between the two (Garcia finished second in two of Harrington’s major victories).
That all made for an interesting situation last weekend when Harrington watched Sergio Garcia’s Masters win from Sky Sports’ commentary booth. He talked about the pair’s relationship on that occasion, but went into further detail in the days following.
Here’s what he told 2FM’s Game On program, transcribed by Balls.ie:
It’s very simple. Myself and Sergio have been on tour as long as each other. We would have been the opposite. His is a very flamboyant game, everything comes easy. There were periods he never practiced. We were such opposites. I worked at it, grinded it out. Got the best out of it.
I’m very strong on the etiquette of the game, so I don’t tolerate people spitting in the hole, throwing their shoes or throwing golf clubs. That would be my attitude. And it would be quite clear where I came from.
Then we went into the majors and obviously I beat him at the majors. I gave him every out I possibly could. I gave him every out I possibly could have at the 2007 Open.
I was as polite as I could and was as generous as I could be, but he was a very sore loser. And he continued to be a very sore loser.
So clearly, after that, we have had a very sticky wicket. The Ryder Cup improved it no end. We say hello to each other every day and it is through gritted teeth, there is no doubt about it. I know he is watching what I am doing and I am watching what he is doing. It is one of those things. He’s a rival.
I was delighted to see the emotion on the 18th green. Maybe I am a bit harsh with the fact that I look and say, well, everything comes easy to Sergio. But clearly it hasn’t come easy to him. You could see in that moment in time that he has probably paid his dues. I might have had a chip on my shoulder about that.
Had Sergio paid his dues? I suppose he was a bigger star than he was performer at one stage. He has definitely paid his dues now. I could see it in his emotion. His future wife, I met her at the Ryder Cup, she is a lovely girl. I feel for them. Everyone likes the parents. The genuine emotion and the thrill of winning, I could see that as a competitor and I could appreciate that. I was very happy for him, no doubt about it, in that moment.
The full interview:
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