After 73 failed attempts to win a major title the Spaniard held his nerve to clinch the Masters at Augusta National.
“I’m not good enough. I don’t have the thing I need to have. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place.”
It was five years ago that Sergio García made this statement after a poor third round at Augusta ended any hopes that the Spaniard would win a coveted major.
The 37 year-old seemed destined to be a habitual bridesmaid throughout his career, but on Sunday he clinched his dreams by landing the Green Jacket after a play-off hole with Justin Rose.
It was a fitting scene. On the weekend of his late hero, Seve Ballesteros’ 60th birthday, the Borriol native conquered his demons by landing the vital blow on the 18th green to win the 81st Masters.
In typical fashion, García made himself and his strong legion of fans go through every emotion as he went toe-to-toe with Olympic champion and one-time major winner, Justin Rose. A bogey at the 10th hole meant the Spaniard trailed his Ryder Cup companion, but a fantastic eagle at 15 levelled the scores after a Rose birdie.
It was gripping television for the viewer right through to the 18th green as both players had birdie opportunities to gain the upper hand. First up was the cool and talented Rose, but as his putt looked destined to find the bottom of the cup, it trickled narrowly wide.
This presented Garcia with the perfect opportunity to seize the moment, but as his putt never looked destined to trouble the hole, it might have conjured memories of the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, where García also had a putt for victory at the 72nd hole, missed it and then lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington.
The drama was to continue as both players – who are also close friends away from the course – were tasked with a tense tee-shot in the play-off. García was the one whose drive found the fairway while Rose’s ball ricocheted off a tree and came to rest in the pine needles, in front of a pine cone. Rose’s pitch landed short of the green while García stuck his approach to 12 feet.
Once Rose tapped in for bogey, the spotlight belonged to the popular Spaniard who sunk his birdie putt and fell to his knees after realising the significance of his achievement.
“Obviously, this is something I wanted to do for a long time,” García said,
“But, you know, it never felt like a horror movie. It felt like a little bit of a drama, but obviously with a happy ending.”
A happy ending indeed for one of golf’s fantastic talents.