Masters: Emotional Sergio Garcia in exalted company at long last

Masters: Emotional Sergio Garcia in exalted company at long last

Garcia came out on top at the first playoff hole where his birdie clinched his maiden Major title. On seventeen, Rose missed a putt and opened the door for Garcia, who had now tied things up as the two headed to the 18 tee.

Garcia said he was even more delighted to have won on the day the legendary Ballesteros - the victor of five major titles - would have celebrated turning 60.

At that time, Garcia was being hailed the new Seve and was a cocky, confident teenage kid who had qualified after clinching the European Amateur Championship.

More broadly, Garcia won his first major in his 74th major appearance. Coming into the tournament, he was widely considered golf's best player without a major win.

But the Olympic champion sees no reason why he can not challenge for a green jacket again and is already turning his focus to the next three majors, with the U.S. Open at Erin Hills just over two months away. An enthralling final day saw Garcia make the brighter start, with his iron-game in good order as he hit approaches in close at the first and third, and he found himself with a three-shot advantage when Rose took three putts on the fifth green.

Garcia clearly couldn't believe what he'd done: at the ripe not-so-old age of 37 he'd finally made his majors breakthrough and despite Justin Rose's valiant efforts, nobody deserved it more and could begrudge him his long overdue moment in the majors limelight.

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

Rose congratulates Garcia at the conclusion of their epic duel
Rose congratulates Garcia at the conclusion of their epic duel

Indeed, everywhere Garcia walked at Hazeltine, he heard chants from the home crowd reminding him of his failure to win a major. "He definitely popped in my mind a few times, there is no doubt about it", Garcia said of Ballesteros, who died in 2011 of complications resulting from a cancerous brain tumour.

Rose's putt tickled the right edge and slid by and Garcia's putt missed badly, either due to a bad read, bad stroke or, given Garcia's perceived history, rotten fate. The fact that it came on what would have been his idol, Ballesteros' 60th birthday makes it all the more special for Garcia.

"All those things helped a lot", Garcia said.

Fowler, who finished tied for 11th despite beginning the final round Sunday only one shot off the lead, just played in his 29th major.

"I feel bad I went so downhill while Rickie was still in it, because it is tough when you don't see a ball go in the hole", he said. "I feel motivated for the summer, and I will be moving on and setting goals very quickly after this". "To be able to join him as Masters champions from Spain, it's unreal". He crouched one more time, placing his hand on the green and then slamming his fist into the turf. Obviously, this is something I wanted to do for a long time, but it never felt like a horror movie. He made eagle on the par-5 15th to tie for the lead.

In 2010, when Phil Mickelson won, and I chose him as the victor, my other four Top 5 selections weren't and I wasn't within a sniff of winning a cent. I accepted what Augusta gives and takes.

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