Born in Castellon, Spain, on January 9th in 1980 to professional golfer Victor Garcia, Sergio Garcia, who has been nicknamed “El Nino,” which means “The child,” began his interest in golf at a very early age. His father taught both him and his two siblings the ins and outs of golfing, and it wasn’t long before Sergio began showing a real interest as well as a great flair for the sport.
By the year 1999, Garcia was dubbed the most promising young player in all of golf, and soon went on to win six tournaments, intriguing followers of the sport like no one else had since another young player named Tiger Woods came onto the scene.
Career Highlights and Achievements
Thanks in part to his father’s expert guidance and professional experience, the younger Garcia first won a junior golfing tournament at the tender age of 10. Two years later, Sergio won the club championship at Campo del Mediterranean, which is the pro shop in Spain where both parents were employed while his father also made appearances on the PGA European Senior tour. By the age of 14, Sergio had also gained a spot on a professional tour, winning first place at the Topolino World Junior Championship in 1994.
The mid 1990s were a notable time for Sergio Garcia as he continued earning a name for himself in the world of golf. In his native home country of Spain, Garcia, who stands five foot, 10 inches tall (178 cm), and weighs in at 159 pounds (72 kg), had won four national titles by the age of 16 in 1996, and also earned third place in scoring on the PGA tour while still an amateur that same year. In 1997, Garcia went on to win the Catalonian Open Championship, a professional event led by the PGA. After a victory at the British Amateur in 1998, Sergio had now gained recognition as the world’s best amateur golfer.
Sergio Garcia officially began his professional golfing career on April 21, 1999 under extreme scrutiny from the media. This was partly due to his young age and promising talent, but also because of unorthodox wrist action in his swing, and his often volatile standings. His professional golf debut was in May 1999 at the Byron Nelson Classic, followed by his first major a month later at the British Open. This particular year also brought Garcia his very first endorsement, signing a five year deal with Adidas.
Garcia is known perhaps most notably recognized for his near win over Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship held in August 1999, in Medinah Illinois. After the notoriety of being the youngest player in the tournament in 78 years, Garcia lost to Woods by one single stroke. A few years later on February 10th, 2001 Garcia again gained quite a bit of attention as he was fined 5,000 pounds sterling in Australia for what was described as an “outburst” and a blatant disrespect for the rules of golf.
Some of Garcia’s accomplishments and tournaments include:
– Topolino World Junior Championship in 1994
– Won European Amateur Championship in the European Young Masters Championship in 1995
– Grand Prix de Lendes, French Amateur and Spanish Amateur Championships, British Boys Championship, European Masters Amateur Championship, David Leadbetter Championship, and the Catalonian Open Championship through the PGA in 1997
– 1998 saw the Spanish Amateur Championship, King of Spain Cup, European Amateur Masters, British Amateur Championship, Puerta de Hierro Cup, and the Jacksonville Junior
– Won the Irish Open in 1999 and was also named Sir Henry Cotton, Rookie of the Year award
– Won the Master Card Colonial, Trophee Lancôme, and the Buick Classic in 2001
– Sergio Garcia ranked as the 10th highest money-maker on the PGA tour by May of 2001.
– Won the Mercedes Championship in 2002
– Won the Canarias Open de Espana (the Spanish Open) in 2002
– Won the EDS Byron Nelson Championship in 2004
Sergio Garcia is known for travelling with an entourage of people fondly referred to as La Familia, or the family, which has consisted of an English teacher, his manager and assistant manager, a strength coach, and of course, his caddie. Maintaining residences in both Borriol, Spain and Orlando Florida, Garcia, who is said to have a fun-loving, boyish nature, enjoys hobbies such as playing tennis, watching the Real Madrid FC soccer team, playing computer and video games, and staying true to his nickname, watching cartoons.