The popular Spaniard beat England’s Justin Rose in a tense play-off to win the 81st Masters at Augusta.
It’s a famous saying: Never give up on your dreams. Most of us are guilty of doing that very quickly when things are starting to look grim. The same cannot be said of Sergio Garcia, who after 73 failed attempts finally got to experience that feeling of winning a major.
Dubbed as the ‘best golfer to never win a major’ by the fans, Garcia’s victory was an emotional one. Yes, he was finally able to extinguish that burden of never winning one of the sport’s top prizes, but he also did it on what would have been his idol and fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros’ 60th birthday.
It had been a long time coming. In 1999 he broke onto the scene as a 19-year-old low amateur at the Masters, before finishing second to Tiger Woods at the USPGA that same year.
In 2007 he heartbreakingly missed a putt to win the Open, before losing the subsequent play-off to Irishman Padraig Harrington. That was just another of his four agonising runner-up finishes prior to his win at Augusta.
The Spaniard had finished in the top 10 at 22 previous majors and in 2012 he seemed to have given up, famously saying in an interview: “I’m not good enough. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will always be fighting for second and third place.”
This made Garcia’s win even more special. He didn’t just beat 92 other golfers that weekend, he also proved himself wrong.
The 37-year-old had been in three winning Ryder Cup teams previously, but nothing means more to a golfer than to win a major on your own.
Initially though there were times that a familiar story was threatening to emerge on the final day.
Garcia saw a three-shot lead turn into a two-shot deficit with just seven holes left to play. The 37-year old needed a semi-miracle, but a birdie-eagle run on the 14th and 15th holes saw him level things up with leader Rose. Both missed great birdie chances on the 18th to take the contest to a play-off- the first at the Masters since 2013.
Rose struggled, driving wide into the pines and scuffing his second shot. The 2016 Olympic champion could only manage a bogey, which opened the door for Garcia. The Spaniard composed himself and calmly got to the green in two, before putting confidently for victory.
“It was the calmest I’ve ever felt coming into a Sunday at a major championship,” the Spaniard said afterwards.
“To do it on Seve’s 60th birthday and to join him and Jose Maria Olazabal – my two childhood idols – as the only Spanish golfers to win a major championship, it’s amazing!”
Garcia is living proof that if you don’t first succeed than try, try and try again. He is the perfect role model for any young sportsman currently finding it difficult in their field and struggling for motivation. The Spaniard’s green jacket – awarded to the winner of the Masters every year- is a symbol of perseverance and self-belief.
If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish your dreams, and Sergio did just that.