Don’t look now, but Sergio Garcia is again becoming the Sergio Garcia that we all expected he’d become. If you haven’t followed golf for the past decade plus, that last sentence may not make much sense, but for those who have watched the boy wonder Sergio’s every step since his scissor kick up the fairway at Medinah in the 1999 PGA Championship, it’s becoming a big- what took so long?

Sergio won the European Tour’s Andalucia Masters at Valderrama on Sunday, his second consecutive European Tour victory. The week before, Sergio won the Castello Masters by a whopping 11 shots after firing a surreal 63-64-63 over the last three rounds. European Tour, less than stellar field or not, that’s nothing to balk your balatas at (ok, that was a better saying 15 years ago). Backing up a 63 with a 64, and then closing out with another sizzling 63 when holding a giant lead is some rare air, yet it’s what we’ve expected from Sergio all along.

Despite winning the prestigious PLAYERS Championship (Finchem likes it in all caps btw) in ’08, Sergio has been in a self-admitted three to four year funk. He has at times seemed unenthused, disenchanted and just plain sour on the golf course, quite the turn for the bizarro for the can’t miss Spaniard that had us all thinking we had found Tiger’s next great rival back in ’99. I have to admit, I’ve had some tall disdain for the guy for the past few years, but I most definitely wasn’t alone.

Maybe the unenthusiastic play and poor attitude towards the game was a result of a balky putter (his ball-striking has always remained top ten-ish), maybe it stemmed from his relationship troubles (his long relationship with Greg Norman’s daughter Morgan-Leigh two years back), maybe it was the two tough beats in majors by Padraig Harrington. Whatever it was, he’s proving that it’s more and more behind him. Also gaining some motivation in the playing-for-Seve seems to have ignited the spark even further.

Sergio’s natural flair, fire and sheer passion for golf is the stuff that builds legends and heroes (maybe even villains in this case). Just watching him you know he has that “it” factor that you just can’t teach. Love him or hate him, he’s good for the game. Watch out golf, the boyish wonder has been reborn.

Joel Harrington