Sergio Garcia wins weather-delayed Andalucia Masters but golf fans unable to watch after Sky blackout
- Golf fans dismayed as Sky unable to show completion of Andalucia Masters
- Production trucks left on Sunday night for next week’s Turkish Airlines Open
- Home favourite Sergio Garcia won the event for the third time in his career
Sergio Garcia’s autumn of sweet redemption continued on Monday when he followed up his stunning Ryder Cup by triumphing in the weather-hit Andalucia Masters at Valderrama.
Even with a Monday finish, it was still only possible to complete 54 holes but, given Garcia’s mastery, he would probably have come out on top no matter how many they played.
Whether the Costa del Sol lives up to its name or succumbs to frequent storms like last week, it makes no difference to the 38- year-old as he showed his mettle to hold off a challenge from Irishman Shane Lowry and pull off a successful defence. Garcia also won the title at Valderrama in 2011.
Sergio Garcia won the Andalucia Masters for the third time in his career on Monday
‘I’m very proud to have won around this course on three occasions, because it is so easy to struggle here if you are off your game,’ said the Spaniard. ‘It’s a wonderful feeling when you win in your home country, it’s like a dream come true.’
The victory completes Garcia’s remarkable recovery from a desperate summer that saw him miss the halfway cut in all four majors. With 11 holes to play on Monday, he started out with a three-shot lead over Lee Westwood, but the Englishman couldn’t replicate his brilliance from the previous day, when he played eight holes in four under par before the storms arrived.
Westwood eventually finished tied fifth after playing his last 10 holes in three over, but he wasn’t about to lose perspective. With his son Sam, 17, caddying for him for the first time, he tweeted: ‘Not a bad debut, kid.’
Instead it was Lowry who began with three straight birdies to move within a stroke of Garcia. Just when he needed to keep pressing, however, the 31-year-old went the other way with a calamitous double bogey at the par three 15th. Trust Garcia to take full advantage, with a birdie at the 14th, while a further birdie at the celebrated par-five 17th meant a four-stroke triumph.
Garcia followed up his stunning Ryder Cup by triumphing in the weather-hit event
While Garcia’s morning turned into a Spanish stroll, the same could not be said of the poor, angst-ridden souls who were playing nine holes knowing their livelihoods were on the line.
Credit, then, to the Scot Richie Ramsay, who played those holes in two under to clamber into the top 116 who were awarded tour cards for next year. So too, four-time European Tour winner David Horsey, who began the week in 116th place and held on to that spot by the relatively trifling margin of £2,400.
‘I’m feeling very relieved now. The whole year has been like a massive wake-up call,’ he said.
As ever, there were hard luck stories. Mancunian Matt Nixon bogeyed the long 17th when a birdie would have taken him into the top 116.
Fellow Englishman Callum Shinkwin should have won the Scottish Open last year to earn an exemption until the end of the 2020 season. Now he’s heading back to Q-school after finishing 121st on the list.
Scot Marc Warren was earning seven figures a year from 2013-15 and once helped Scotland to a memorable World Cup of Golf win, but four dropped shots in five holes around the turn cost him his playing privileges.
The victory completes Garcia’s remarkable recovery from a desperate summer
Italian golf thought they had unearthed a superstar when Matteo Manassero was breaking all sorts of age records for winning tournaments. Now, at 25, he’s on the outside looking in.
So, too, Edoardo Molinari, whose dwindling fortunes offer a stark contrast to those of his brother, Francesco. Perhaps he could share a beer with Chase Koepka, who lost his tour card on the day his brother Brooks was confirmed as world No 1.
Talk about the two sides of professional golf.
But no one saw it!
Sky Sports drew the wrath of its golf subscriber base after failing to show live coverage of the conclusion of the Andalucia Masters on Monday.
Irate fans made their feelings known after the broadcaster tweeted that they wouldn’t be showing any live play because of ‘circumstances beyond our control’. Adding insult to injury, they were still showing Sunday’s play on the golf channel on Monday morning while Sergio Garcia was completing his victory.
‘Owing to circumstances beyond my control, I won’t be paying my bill this month,’ was the prevailing tone of the criticism, with many unhappy that the broadcaster didn’t show the USPGA Championship in August either, despite proclaiming themselves the ‘home of live golf’.
The circumstances alluded to were that the European Tour’s broadcast trucks had packed up and were on the way to Turkey for a tournament that doesn’t begin until a week on Thursday. A European Tour spokesman said they had to leave on Sunday ‘to ensure their timely arrival’.
Sly Sports were unable to broadcast the end of the weather-delayed tournament
Production trucks had already left Valderrama for Turkey when Garcia sealed victory
Sky were left to bear the brunt of disgruntled golf fans on Twitter on Monday morning
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