Sergio Garcia admitted his long wait for a major title made his sensational Masters victory even sweeter after beating Justin Rose in a play-off. With it, he shook off almost two decades of weighted expectations by capturing the 81st Masters Tournament.
"At the end of the day, you're going to win - always said, before I won at Merion, you're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors but you've got to be willing to lose them".
"But it's happened", he said.
A month later he finished second in the US PGA Championship at the age of 19, but had since recorded a further 21 top-10 finishes without claiming a maiden major title.
It was somehow fitting that Sergio Garcia's Major breakthrough came in a tournament where Pádraig Harrington was absent, writes Stephen Barry. I still believed there were a lot of holes I could go after. But I knew that I could still work it around, you know, if I just accepted what was happening. "But I can live with that".
That Garcia's first major win came at the Masters, arguably golf's most prestigious event, only enhances his appeal to brands, according to Tamara Jacobs, senior vice president at Ketchum Sports & Entertainment.
Garcia said he thought of the late Seve Ballesteros while overcoming setbacks that would have derailed his less confident self.
Garcia frittered away a chance to win in regulation when his downhill five-footer dribbled away to the right and did not even threaten the cup, moments after Rose had also misread his seven-footer. "He deserves it. He's had his share of heartbreak".
Garcia and Rose began the day tied for the lead on six under par, with a host of world-class golfers snapping at their heels.
Tied going to the back nine, Garcia immediately fell two shots behind with wild shots into the pine straw bed under the trees.
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Or perhaps he was thinking of the 7-footer at the 17th, the one he just didn't hit hard enough, resulting in a bogey that sent him to the 72nd hole tied with Garcia.
However, he finally delivered by rolling home a birdie putt on the first playoff hole.
After seeing an early three-shot lead wiped out by Rose's hat-trick of birdies from the sixth, Garcia bogeyed the 10th and 11th and looked certain to drop another shot following a wayward drive on the 13th.
That set the stage for 18.
"I knew I was playing well".
"Then obviously in the playoff, I had virtually the same line and maybe the speed was slightly less but it broke across the hole".
Rose regrouped quickly, however, and has established himself as one of the game's leading players, now ranked 14th in the world.
He hit wedge to 7 feet and escaped with par.
Garcia responded with a wonderful approach to the green that had the crowd roaring, they sensed it was his time and indeed despite a good shot onto the green from Rose it was Garcia's time as his opponent had to settle for a bogey.