It didn't take long for Sergio Garcia to get back in the major saddle after missing his first big one in 24 years at last week's PGA Championship.
The 43-year-old is now down in 206th spot on the world rankings after his move to LIV and his five-year exemption into the majors has now expired following his 2017 Masters win. His place in the field at Augusta is assured but he would have required an invite to the PGA and that wasn't forthcoming.
On the Monday after Oak Hill Garcia took on the US Open qualifying for LA Country Club and, fair play to him, he made it through.
The Ryder Cup legend shot a 66 at Bent Tree Country Club and followed that with another 66 at Northwood Club to grab one of the eight spots available in the 120-player field. His nine-under total saw him finish in a tie for fourth while his LIV pal Graeme McDowell three-putted his final hole of the day to miss out on a play-off by a solitary shot.
Garcia's day took a much-needed uplift when he eagled the par-5 14th, before that it was touch and go whether he would advance.
“It was such a key moment to me. I hit my drive nicely in the middle then I hit a 3-iron so good, to 6 feet from the pin, and made the putt. That made the difference, but I knew I needed one more [birdie] to escape a play-off. I played well and I knew what I needed. I didn’t want to be in a play-off. I’ve done that before. It’s pretty scary.”
His day was complete when he knocked a wedge close at the 18th and holed that to avoid the extra holes. In the end there was just one spot in that with five players going out again.
Sergio Garcia birdied the last hole of US Open Qualifying yesterday to seal his place at LACC next month. This makes it 24 US Open’s he’s played in a row. Clutch 💪🇪🇸@TheSergioGarcia— Flushing It (@flushingitgolf) May 23, 2023
Garcia's major record has been dismal since his victory at Augusta in 2017 - he has missed 14 cuts in 22 starts – but he will be looking to follow in the recent LIV major successes of the likes of Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka.
“I watched some at home on Sunday, but at the end of the day I didn’t get in. I would have loved to get a spot from the PGA but they didn’t have me on their radar. Of course I was happy when Jon Rahm won the Masters but I’ve gotten to know Brooks on LIV and know all he went through, so I’m super happy for him. It shows we still are really good at playing golf and we really care about the game regardless of what some people say about us.”
One player who won't be at this year's US Open in a few weeks is Garcia's old nemesis, Tiger Woods. As predicted Woods is still recovering from ankle surgery and the three-time winner will miss his third straight national Open.