Thomas Bjorn hails Sergio Garcia after Masters triumph

Ross Houston
April 13, 2017

One finds it hard to imagine that Garcia would have to go through a 17-year-drought at the majors despite being among the world's best. Also, Tiger Woods missed the Masters for a second consecutive year.

Spain's Sergio Garcia captured his first major golf title on Sunday (Monday in Manila) after 73 failed attempts, making a birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Justin Rose and win the 81st Masters.

As his ball disappeared, Garcia crouched, clenched his fists and let out a mighty scream of pure joy releasing years of frustration, his 74 major starts the most made by any professional golfer before a first win.

" I would say this one is one that slipped by, for sure", said the Olympic gold medallist, who was looking to become the first European player to win the Masters and US Open. Perhaps his lowest ebb of self-doubt was five years ago when he admitted "I'm not good enough to win a major" after a awful third round at Augusta.

Olazabal sent Garcia a message on the eve of the tournament with words of advice and encouragement, as well as a special request for some company in the small Champions' Locker Room at Augusta. "Obviously Jose Maria's helped a lot".

"It was very special that Sergio could win on what would have been Seve's 60th birthday", he said.

"He did mention a couple of things that kind of touched my heart a little bit".

"It was the most free that I've ever felt at Augusta National", he said. He's a great man.

That was especially true on the par-5 13 hole.

He birdied No. 14 to pull within a shot, then almost holed out from 190 yards out on the par 5 15th, then rolled in a 14-footer for eagle to tie Rose for the lead.

Garcia defeated fellow Adidas athlete Justin Rose in a sudden-death playoff on the 18th hole to earn the green jacket.

The Irishman stood between Garcia and a Major title in the 2007 Open Championship, where Garcia missed a ten-foot putt for victory, and the 2008 US PGA Championship, where the Spaniard again surrendered a lead to Harrington.

"I can't pick holes in my performance".

"It was just fantastic to feel that energy and love that everybody showed me, it was just incredible", he said.

Along with the happy reflections of the people around him - including Angela Akins, the former Golf Channel reporter he plans to marry in July - that final burst of emotion was thinking about "moments that unfortunately didn't go the way I wanted".

"It's a coin flip, is it going to jump or come out spinny", Spieth said. But you know, both of us having putts on 18, both slipping by, both just slightly mis-read the putts.

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