Niagara Gazette — It was his mental version of the “bulletin board material” that sports teams often use today: be told you cannot do it, then go and show them otherwise.
As for those who supported him, there were plenty he identified: Mike Slipko, who played on the PGA Tour in the 1970s, his uncle Phil, Sam DiNardo, Adolph Del Zoppo, Nick Pelsoni, Tony Cassano, his cousin Feliz Viscuglia, and Tom Etopio, with whom Garcia launched the Cataract Amateur Golf Club. Among the most successful students to emerge from that program was Paul Scaletta, who played in the 2012 PGA Championship, 2013 Honda Classic and was named the South Florida Player of the Year in 2012.
Among many names he recalled, there was also Matt Kasicka, who was 84 years old while Garcia was still a teenager rising in the game: “How I loved that man. He taught me to manage the golf course to make smart shots and never get ahead of myself.”
Since 2000, Garcia has offered professional lessons from Niagara Frontier Country Club and offered his gratitude and praise to its staff.
At Hyde Park on a summer afternoon, he was looking at the faces of youngsters who could have been him a generation ago. A man who openly expresses his Christian faith, Garcia is not bitter about those who would hold him back. When asked how he’s approach the young golfers at this clinic, he considered that maybe a little adversity might prove constructive in their development, too.
“What I want to get across to them is that adversaries are everywhere,” Garcia said. “I’m sure these city kids got more than their share. I just tell them that in my own life, the presence of God is there with us, if you keep doing the right things, good things will happen for you.”