June 26, 2017

Sergio Garcia: Ballasteros and Olazabal inspired Masters victory

11 April 2017, 09:14 | Simon Arnold

On Sunday, as he and Rose turned to the back nine, it seemed that Garcia was once again playing for second place. He would have been ready for the rest home if he'd had to watch his Spanish countryman lurch and spurt to his first major championship.

"Congrats Sergio Garcia. You deserve it more than anyone", Ballesteros' son said following Garcia's championship-winning birdie putt on the first playoff hole.

"The only thing I can do is hopefully change that up, so the next time we come to the U.S., they will tell me, 'Ah, you only have one major, ' or something like that, which will sound a little bit better, " Garcia said.

Sergio Garcia played in 73 major golf tournaments without a victory.

"I was so happy for him I can't tell you how happy. I'm still the same goofy guy".

Garcia becomes the third Spaniard to win the Masters, also joining Jose Maria Olazabal, who triumphed twice at Augusta, in 1994 and 1999.

"Hopefully play better next week". He was the only man to shoot four under-par rounds.

"A win at a major is big for any golfer, but the green jacket tends to stand out", Jacobs said. Rose rolled his chip down to 5 feet and missed the birdie putt.

It seemed as though most of the gallery at Augusta felt the same way, as the Garcia who made a rude hand gesture to a spectator who heckled him at the 2002 U.S. Open was transformed into an nearly beloved figure who seemed to feed off the crowd's affection.

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Rose and Garcia started out tied for the lead. Garcia "came out of a five-wood" on No. 10 and drove short, winding up with a bogey.

As soon as the putt slipped past the cup on the first playoff hole, Justin Rose knew it was over.

Harrington first noted at how impressive her body language was after Sergio missed a putt to win the tournament, where she urged Garcia to power on as his body language looked a bit concerning.

Rose reached 8 under with a birdie on 8 and stayed there all the way to 15 while Garcia gave shots away at 10 and 11. Rose was just over the back of the green in two, in position to turn a two-shot lead into four. "If I make and he misses, then I'm probably looking at Thomas Pieters or Charl Schwartzel as the ones to beat". He birdied 14 and eagled 15 from 15 feet. Instead, in the playoff, Rose hit his tee shot into the trees, and from there all Garcia had to do was make par from the fairway. Rose's approach hit off the side of the bunker and kicked onto the green, stopping 7 feet away.

The two hit classic shots into 18 and then hit forgettable putts. "I'm sure he helped a little bit with some of those shots or some of those putts". "It's a subtle break". I've been kind of accepting, too, that if it for whatever reason didn't happen, my life is still going to go on. "It was a special day".

With a keen eye on Garcia in '99 was Ballesteros, who took the young Spaniard under his wing and developed a strong friendship with him in the years thereafter. Maybe it wouldn't be a sudden and horrifying collapse like it was with Jordan Spieth at the 12th hole in 2016, but this one might be just as agonizing. Spieth shot 75 and was six strokes behind Garcia six holes into the round.

"It was weird", Spieth said.

"It was just a lot of things going through my mind", he said. Kuchar, who fired a five-under par 67 to finish tied for fourth at five-under 283, was celebrating the ace when he noticed a boy wearing a hat styled like that of PGA Tour-record 82-time victor Sam Snead, a button proclaiming he was a member of Arnie's Army in memory of the late Arnold Palmer, and a loud bright orange outfit matching the style of USA star Rickie Fowler.

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