2017 will now go down as an answer to a Trivia Question. The question will be in what year did Sergio Garcia win his first major. After 73 starts in major tournaments, Sergio entered his 74th Major as one of the favorites to win it all at 4-1. If you remember in 1999 at the PGA Championship he got into a fantastic Duel with the then #1 golfer in all of the world Tiger Woods. At that point, we all thought Sergio was going to be a force to reckon with in major tournaments. It never turned out that way instead what happened was a bunch of disappointing finishes and always being the bridesmaid.
For instance the 2007 Brittish Open at Carnoustie where Sergio up until Sunday was playing under par golf. Sergio would end up standing on the 18th tee with a 1 shot lead. Even after putting his drive in the bunker he left himself with a 10-foot putt to win the title which of course would lip-out and cause him to lose the Open to Padrig Harrington. Just one in the many close calls of Sergio Garcia’s major career.
Fast Forward to this year Sergio shot a mediocre 71 the first round which put him 6 shots off the lead but was 4th best of the day. He improved a little in the second round with a 69 which was the 3rd best score for the day. Thankfully everyone in front of him had shot badly and helped move Sergio to the top of the leaderboard along with Rickie Fowler and Thomas Pieters. Third round he felt some pressure as he shot a 70 but Justin Rose put up a 67 to force a tie with Sergio at -6 each.
That’s when we turned to the final round of the masters Garcia came out hot and birdie 1 and 3. While Rose would par 1 and 3 giving Garcia a 2 stroke lead after 3. Follow that up with a bogey at 5 and Sergio was up 3 after 5 holes. This made it look like it was his time to win his first major. Until Rose followed up his bogey at 5 with 3 birdies in a row to finish up the front 9 tied at -8.
After making the turn Garcia bogeyed 10 and 11 that would give Rose a 2 shot lead. Looking like another major was going to pass him up with they would head to 15. This is the hole I believe changed Sergio’s fate. Sergio eagles 15 to bring him to -9 and Rose would birdie to put him at -9. Looked again as Sergio was ready to take charge until he chunked a putt on 16. Rose would birdie to go up 1 with 2 to play. At 17 with a chance to take the lead Sergio would miss a birdie putt. Rose would miss a par putt and would eventually force a tie heading to 18.
At the tee, for 18 Sergio would hit a tremendous drive down the fairway and Rose would match him within 10 yards. Rose would hit his 2nd shot first and got a very fortuitous bounce to putt himself about 8 feet away for birdie. Sergio stepped up and knocked his stiff to within 5 feet of the hole for birdie. Rose would line up for his putt first and burn outer edge leaving Sergio with a 5 footer to win. But we all know Sergio and he can’t make this easy so of course, he would miss a straightforward putt. So after all this headed back to 18 for a sudden death playoff.
Rose got to hit first to which he placed it in the woods and get another bounce. Although it would not help him to get out of trouble. As he had to punch out his next shot leaving him laying 2 where Garcia was laying 1. Garcia would then hit his second shot to about 10 feet away. At this point needed just one putt to win the masters. Rose missed his par putt which would allow Garcia to win the Masters with 2 putts. He only needed one and it was the biggest putt of his life. As the putt went down you can see the monkey flying off his back. What a great tournament and a great win for a golfer who has more than deserved it.