By Scott Graison
It was simply Masterful. Sergio Garcia arrived at Augusta with a mark of 0-for-73 in major championships. He’s now 1-for-74. Those 73 missed opportunities don’t matter anymore. After out-dueling Justin Rose in a classic battle, Garcia slipped on a green jacket and finally shed the label of “Best Player Never to Win a Major.” The grin on his face was ear-to-ear as relief washed over the 37-year-old Spaniard.
“From the drive this morning to the course I was very calm,” Garcia said on Sunday. “I felt the calmness I’ve never felt on a major Sunday…I’m so happy. It’s been such a long time coming.”
Garcia got up, got down, battled back, and eventually outlasted Rose on the 1st playoff hole. He did it in dramatic fashion. He did it in style. He hung in there when everything pointed to another collapse. He kept his calm. And in the end, he emerged victorious.
What added to the mystique of Garcia’s first major title was that he did it on what would have been his mentor and friend’s 60th birthday. Fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros passed away nearly six years ago from brain cancer. He had taken a young, cocky, brash Sergio Garcia under his wing and helped mold him into a more mature, humble player. It has stuck with Serg.
This Sunday, the kid who was supposed to give Tiger Woods a legitimate rivalry, but never did, finally came through. He may have been green with envy for years, but now he is in a green jacket and it fits him just right.
Are you asking yourself, “What’s with the gorilla you wrote about in the title?” Made you wait for it…not nearly as long as Sergio Garcia waited for his spot in the limelight, but—the gorilla is finally off his back. And life for the Masters champion feels a whole lot lighter.