The People’s Champion Reigns Supreme as Garcia becomes Masters Champion.
“I think that when things are going well off the golf course it’s much easier to feel comfortable on a golf course, because there’re no worries,” stated Garcia following his Dubai triumph. Following one of the greatest back 9 battles Augusta has ever seen, Sergio Garcia said he was “very calm, calmer than I’ve felt in any major on a Sunday. Justin wasn’t making it easy, he was playing well, but I believed in what I was doing.” “There is always uncertainty, but the drive this morning to the course, I felt very calm and at ease.” This was a different Sergio to one that had previously stepped up in the final group on a major Sunday.
A resounding sense of belief poured from Sergio as he plotted his way round the dramatic back 9. A belief many attribute to his personal life being a lot more settled, thanks to the influence of his fiancée Angela Akins. Sergio never looked flustered, even after a few wobbles on the 10th, 11th and 13th, he recomposed and hit what he said was “one of the greatest 8 irons of my career” on the par 5 15th.
Rolling in the next putt for eagle showed a change in Garcia. Previously, in this position he has stuttered at the line and missed the mark. Not this time. El Nino was electric. Justin Rose, great friend and consummate professional, threw punches, Garcia responded, it was a battle for the ages and one that will live long in the history books.
A favourite amongst the European fans thanks to his glittering Ryder Cup record, Sergio has often been on the wrong end of the American support. That changed this weekend. Every person watching, the patrons, and fans in all four corners of the earth, roared as his approach to the 72nd hole finished just a few feet away, and then gasped as the resulting putt slipped just wide of the mark.
Heading into the play-off, both Sergio and Justin looked unfazed by the situation, the pressures of a major tournament showing no signs of wearing down either competitor. Sergio, once again played a simply sublime approach into the green, finishing 14 feet from the pin. As his #49 TP5 ball, the number representative of his mother’s year of birth left the putter face, the intake of breath from the patrons and the masses around the world drew the ball towards the hole. The putt dropped, and at the 74th time of asking Sergio Garcia was now a major champion. The “greatest player to never win a major” monkey was no longer on his back. The sheer outpouring of emotions from Garcia showed just how much the victory meant to him.
Angela crouched almost to her knees in celebration; she stayed greenside as the Matador erupted. The Augusta patrons chanting “SERGIO, SERGIO, SERGIO” reverberated around the globe. A champion of the people was now a champion of Augusta National.