Sergio Garcia wins Sanderson Farms Championship with winning putt with his eyes closed

Sergio Garcia hadn’t had a win on the PGA Tour since the 2017 Masters. As he rolled in the three-foot putt to seal the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi on Sunday, the cameras showed the 40-year-old had his eyes closed.

It is part of a technique change the Spaniard has adopted to try to improve his putting.

“I would love to putt with my eyes open, but I feel like my stroke is more consistent when I kind of try to forget about it and just kind of feel it,” he said earlier in the tournament.

“Sometimes I feel like I have it under control and I’m like: ‘Well let’s go back to like I practice normal’ and it feels good. But when it comes down to the tournament, it just doesn’t feel quite the same so I would say I putt with my eyes closed 75% of the time.”

Garcia said he even putted with his eyes closed in winning the 2017 Masters.

The birdie on the final hole gave Garcia the one-shot victory at the Country Club of Jackson over American Peter Malnati, who came from five shots behind after carding a career-best 63.

It was Garcia’s first PGA Tour victory since becoming a father to his two children — he has won on the European Tour — but upon his return to the top of the leaderboard, Garcia’s thoughts turned to the family members he has lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

“My father has a lot of family in Madrid,” Garcia said after. “He’s one of nine siblings, and unfortunately we lost two of his brothers because of Covid, one at the beginning, Uncle Paco, and one just last Saturday actually … Uncle Angel.

“You know, it’s sad. It’s sad. And I know that a lot of families have lost a lot more people, but you never want to lose anyone like that, and I wanted to win this for them.”

Garcia has struggled for form since his last victory in golf, which came at the KLM Open last year. He had only one top 10 finish since golf resumed in June and he missed the cut in three of his four tournaments coming into the Sanderson Farms Championship.

But his unusual putting technique gave him the 11th PGA Tour of his career. Garcia now has won at least once worldwide in each of his last 10 years, a streak he shares with Justin Rose.

Garcia lines up a putt on the 16th green.
“I was believing in myself the whole week,” Garcia said.

“I obviously hit a bad putt on six for par, but I stuck with it, I kept going, I kept believing, I kept telling myself you’re doing great, just keep doing what you’re doing, it’s great. You’re not going to make every single putt.”

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