Garcia no sure thing for U.S. Open, could miss first major since 1999

sergio garcia
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Sergio Garcia has played in every major since the 1999 British Open -- a streak of 46 in a row -- but he has some work to do to become eligible for the upcoming U.S. Open.
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press


Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | 1:23 p.m.

Sergio Garcia missed the cut in his first major as a pro, at Carnoustie in 1999 for the British Open. He has played in every major since then, a streak of 46 in a row that suddenly is in danger.

Garcia, coming off his worst season as a pro and one that required a 10-week break to become rejuvenated about golf, is not exempt for the U.S. Open at Congressional. He either needs to qualify his way in for the first time in his career, or climb back into the top 50 in the world ranking by May 23.

“I suspect he’ll be top 50 by then,” Clarke Jones of IMG said on Tuesday.

Garcia is currently No. 76 in the world. If that fails, new criteria for the U.S. Open gives him until the week before the U.S. Open to get into the top 50.

He has played only six times this year -- three times in Europe, three times on the PGA Tour -- with his best result a tie for eighth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Jones said Garcia would play the Wells Fargo Championship next week, followed by the Players Championship and at least one of the two Dallas-Fort Worth tournaments.

“He’s on his way back up,” Jones said. “He is headed down the right path.”

Garcia, along with Anthony Kim and Tiger Woods, is a past champion at Congressional, which hosts the U.S. Open on June 16-19. He won the now-defunct Booz Allen Classic in 2005, closing with a 65 for a two-shot victory.

Along with the U.S. Open, Garcia has a lot of ground to make up in other events. He already has missed two World Golf Championships (Arizona and Doral) and is not exempt for the third one at Firestone a week before the PGA Championship. And he is not exempt for the final two majors, although the PGA Championship tends to take the top 100 in the world.

Garcia, of course, is not alone.

Vijay Singh, whose 67 consecutive majors is the longest active streak, is not yet exempt for the U.S. Open. Singh was awarded a special exemption to the U.S. Open last year, and got into the British Open having played on the most recent Presidents Cup team. Singh is at No. 53 in the world ranking.

USGA Executive Director Mike Davis said he did not anticipate anyone getting a special invitation this year.

Others who are on the bubble, with one month to go to crack the top 50, include three PGA Tour winners this year: Gary Woodland (No. 48), Rory Sabbatini (No. 56) and Aaron Baddeley (No. 58).