Garcia gets a record, little else at rough Ryder for Europe

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Team Europe's Sergio Garcia reacts after making a putt on the ninth hole during a foursomes match the Ryder Cup at the Whistling Straits Golf Course Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Sheboygan, Wis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Nobody has collected more wins at the Ryder Cup than Sergio Garcia.

Not in history. And, when it comes to his underperforming European teammates, certainly not this week.

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Garcia won twice with fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm on Saturday to surpass Nick Faldo with his 24th and 25th career victories at the event Garcia treasures the most.

But the wins and the record came on a day in which Europe fell even further behind — 11-5 to an American team that's not encountering trouble with many players outside of Spain.

“It’s great but it’s not,” Garcia said shortly after he and Rahm closed out their 3-and-1 victory in the morning over Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger. “We need more wins and unfortunately we are not getting them.”

Though the newest version of the Spanish Armada moved to 3-0 for the week, they are virtually the only ones enjoying any success for Europe.

Shane Lowry and Tyrell Hatton are the only other combination to produce a European victory over the first 16 matches. This is America's biggest lead since 1975 — four years before players from continental Europe were brought into the Ryder Cup.

“Obviously, I'm very proud to win another match for our team,” Garcia said following the afternoon victory, a 2-and-1 win over Koepka and Jordan Spieth. “But we have a big task tomorrow.”

One could only imagine Garcia's morning performance fitting into one of Europe's clever social-media videos if the rest of this week weren't shaping up as such a complete disaster.

There was Garcia, looking chilled and old before his early starting time — then doing nothing inspired as he and Rahm limped their way to a 3-down deficit after three holes.

And then, there he was, starting a putt perfectly on line on No. 7 but leaving it a foot short, then burying his face in his hand.

But then, there he was, holing out from in front of the green on No. 9 to suddenly pull the Spaniards back to even.

And there he was, laughing so hard he spit out his drink while Koepka argued with the rules officials on 15. And then came the shot Garcia ripped from 250 yards out to 5 feet to set up an eagle on the par-5 16th. It came just after he heard someone in the crowd shout out that he was going to choke. Instead, he all but put the match away.

“It was nice to prove him wrong, I guess,” Garcia said.

It was more of the same in the afternoon, as Rahm's putter heated up again, much the way it had Friday. Rahm's 29-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole gave the Europeans an insurmountable lead. He also made birdies from 27 and 45 feet to stake himself and Garcia to an early 3-up lead.

“We support each other all throughout, and even at the bad times, we were making each other smile and I think that was the biggest part,” Rahm said.

Garcia improved to 25-12-7 in his 10 Ryder Cup appearances. With every win, he expands on both his records in victories (25) and points (28 1/2), leaving the likes of Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Arnold Palmer even further in the dust.

But Garcia knows this as well as anyone: More than any event in golf, the Ryder Cup is not about individual numbers. And unless he gets some historic help in Sunday's singles matches, he will stay stuck on the number six. That's the number of winning Ryder Cup teams he's been part of.

“We are trying to win the match so we can take points in our favor and take points away from the U.S.," Garcia said. "But we need more. At the moment, we are not getting them.”


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