Written by
Joy Chakravarty
Feb 06 2024
- 4 min
Garcia Niemann Mayakoba

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Fireballs captain Sergio Garcia lit up the El Camaleon course with a typically gutsy display before enduring a heart-breaking loss in an unforgettable playoff on Sunday of the season-opening LIV Golf Mayakoba.

Torque GC captain Joaquin Niemann denied the 44-year-old Spaniard his first LIV Golf title, but It took four extra holes of titanic battle – the last of which was in near darkness when both involved players agreed to play another hole in an effort to get the result on the same day.

It was the second playoff loss for Garcia in his LIV career, having come close last year in Singapore before losing to Talor Gooch in extended play.

However, this one would sting a bit as the 2017 Masters champion had stormed back from four shots behind on the final day to give himself a chance. While those ahead of him struggled to come to terms with a demanding course, Garcia was imperious in making four birdies in his first 10 holes.

He then suffered a momentary setback with his putter – three-putting two times – before bouncing back in impeccable style with two long-range birdie putts to set the clubhouse target of 12-under par.

Niemann, for whom Garcia has been a mentor ever since he first moved to the PGA Tour, won his first title on LIV Golf when he made a 12-footer birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole.

Garcia started with a superb 65, which was again overshadowed by Niemann (59), who became the second LIV player after Bryson DeChambeau to break 60, and then added a 70 before his final-round 66. The key to his scoring was his excellent iron-play as he found 40 greens in regulation despite the tricky winds at Mayakoba and was second in the stat category.

After his opening round, Garcia said he wasn’t very pleased with the way he was swinging coming into the tournament but found something.

“Obviously, very happy with my round. My swing the last week or so hasn’t been feeling amazing, so very happy to play the way I played,” said the Fireballs captain.

Local favorite Abraham Ancer struggled with his putter and could not get going in the first two rounds but saved his best for the last. A bogey-free 67 lifted him to even-par for three days and in tied 28th place. Eugenio Chacarra was one shot behind in tied 32nd place at one-over.

New addition David Puig, who moved to Garcia’s team this season from Torque, contributed to the team score in all three rounds. However, with his best round being an even-par on Sunday, he finished tied 38th at 3-over total.

Fireballs finished sixth in the team championship with a total of 13-under par.


Field ranking in parentheses

Fairways Hit

Garcia – 18 (T24)

Ancer – 20 (T7)

Chacarra – 16 (T32)

Puig – 17 (T27)

Greens in Regulation

Garcia – 40 (T2)

Ancer – 35 (T13)

Chacarra – 36 (T9)

Puig – 30 (T35)

Total Putts

Garcia – 84 (T30)

Ancer – 89 (T49)

Chacarra – 87 (T45)

Puig – 86 (T42)

Total Birdies

Garcia – 16 (T3)

Ancer – 8 (T43)

Chacarra – 9 (T36)

Puig – 8 (T43)

Driving Distance Avg.

Garcia – 296.1 (13)

Ancer – 293.9 (16)

Chacarra – 300.5 (6)

Puig – 293.1 (18)