Who would’ve thought that the words: Sergio, Augusta, back nine, and clutch would all be used in the same sentence. That’s what Sergio was on Sunday en route to his first career major victory. Sergio burst onto the scene first as the low amateur at the 1999 Masters, which was won by fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabel. Later that year, Sergio went toe to toe with Tiger Woods at the PGA, which was later narrowly won by Woods. This was where Sergio made his famous eyes closed tree shot at Medinah.
Sergio was supposed to win many majors and become a huge rival of Woods. Garcia would instead endure years of shortcomings, typically in heartbreaking fashion.
Sunday at the Masters had all the ingredients for all the same struggles for Sergio. But this time, something seemed different. Sergio started his round on Sunday with a birdie at the first to go up two shots on Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose. Sergio would later make back-to-back bogeys on 10 and 11. On 13, his tee found a bush, which forced an unplayable lie, but the Spaniard was able to scramble for par. Sergio pulled within one shot of Rose after making a birdie on 14. On 15, Sergio hit the shot of the tournament. With an iron in hand for his approach into the par 5, Sergio hit the pin, which set up an eagle to pull even with Rose. The pair would finish tied after 72 holes and would go on to a playoff.
On the first playoff hole, both players found the fairway, green, and missed their birdie attempts. Playing the 18th hole a second time, Rose found trouble off the tee, which set the stage for Garcia. With 2 putts to win, Sergio sank the birdie putt for his first major victory.
On Sunday, Sergio went from the player everyone jeered, to the guy everyone rallied behind. Sergio brought the fire on Sunday, showing his emotion when he did something good. He also showed Justin Rose great respect, especially on the back nine when the pair went shot for shot. The biggest reason Sergio was able to win on Sunday was he finally got control over his head. This can be attributed to his fiancé, Angela, who is a former golfer. The two will be getting married over the summer. I wonder if Sergio will wear his green jacket for the wedding…
On the 60th birthday of his late hero Seve Ballesteros, Sergio finally can call himself a major champion. If Sergio were to shock the world and retire from competitive golf, I do not think anyone would blame him. It’s been a long time coming.