Residence: Borriol, Spain
Probably know for his heroics in past Ryder Cup matches over his individual achievements, the passionate young Spaniard (known as ‘El Nino’) is a major challenger on both the European and PGA Tours. He has battled with numerous swing changes including the dreaded ‘yips’ where he repeatedly gripped, then re-gripped sometimes up to 20 times before playing a shot.
Along with Monty, he is certainly one of the best golfers ‘never to win a Major’ - although he came very close again at Carnoustie in July 2007, losing in a play-off to Padraig Harrington. Our biog photo of Sergio was taken at golf’s 5th Major, the TPC at Sawgrass in May 2007 where he finished second to Phil Mickelson. In 2008 Sergio went a place better by winning golf’s ‘5th Major’, pocketing the whopping $1.5million first prize, and ending a 3 year run without victory.
Sergio possesses a sparking amateur career winning 19 amateur events as well as a pro event, the Catalonian Open - at the age of only 17. Amazingly, he made 12 out of 18 European Tour cuts before turning professional which he did after finishing as the best Amateur at the 1999 Masters. His professional career got off to a flying start winning Murphy's Irish Open on only his 6th start as a pro and became the 4th youngest winner on the European Tour at the age of 19.
As mentioned, he loves playing in the Ryder Cup and like fellow countrymen Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal always seems to bring his ‘A-game’ to the party. He has played in 5 European Ryder Cup teams enjoying substantial success each time. At the K Club in 2006 it was only defeat to Stewart Cink in the Sunday singles which stopped him becoming the first golfer in Ryder Cup history to win all of their 5 matches at a single event.
During a practise round at The Masters in 2002 Sergio launched a driver 325 yards down the 2nd. He then decided that this was not good enough and proceeded to smash his 2-iron 253 years into the hole for a very rare albatross. Away from golf, Sergio and his girl friend’s dad, a certain Greg Norman, are designing a new golf course together in San Antonio.
Sergio added his little bit to the amazing Spanish Summer of Sport 2008 by winning golf ‘5th Major’ TPC at Sawgrass. One of only 4 players to finish under par for the event, a final round 71 (-1) saw him placed into a playoff with Paul Goydos who he beat at the first extra hole. Like a number of Europeans the year ended in defeat with a first loss in 4 to America in The Ryder Cup. Sergio was particularly disappointed with his contribution of 1 point towards the European total as he loves the competition so much. Sergio soon bounced back from this defeat to win his own tournament The Castello Masters and dedicated his victory to fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros.