From Sergio Garcia’s history of coming up just short, to the playoff with Justin Rose, to the splendor of Augusta National, the Masters became the Oscars on Sunday.
“No place gives you better theater than the back nine at Augusta National,” GolfWeek senior writer David Dusek said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “That’s just a given. It was fantastic. The fact that Sergio Garcia, who we just knew is a choke guy – he’s just somebody who has had so many opportunities over the years, so many times where he just thought the golf gods were against him, that he was just never going to win a major championship and it just wasn’t in the cards for him – he looks great coming out of the chute. All of a sudden, Sergio Garcia has got a three-shot lead on the front nine, Rose battles back, Garcia all of a sudden starts to have some problems, but then all of a sudden the gods start shining on him. I’m happy for Sergio.”
Garcia, 37, hasn’t always been the most popular player on Tour, but people chanted his name Sunday. And in the end, Garcia won the first major of his career.
“It’s taken a long time, but people have started to really love Sergio Garcia,” Dusek said. “He has completely turned people around. He was absolutely the favorite of the crowd that was at the golf course. The pouting, the terrible attitude, the woe-is-me kind of thing – it’s brutal when you have opportunities and you don’t come through, and he’s had several opportunities to win major championships. The one that immediately comes to mind is the 2007 British Open. He has a putt from about eight or nine feet that rims out and Padraig Harrington beats him in a playoff, and the guy is just whining and complaining that he never catches a break. (He was) totally the opposite (Sunday). So much more mature, so much more accepting – like, hey, I’m going to give it my best and and we’ll just let it happen – and lo and behold, the putt goes in.”
And just like that, 0-for-73 became 1-for-74 – and the narrative surrounding Garcia changed forever. His record in majors underscores just how hard it is to win one.
“If Klay Thompson has a bad night, there’s other people that can pick up the slack,” Dusek said. “If you’re playing a team sport, you can get subs, you can get coaching – guys will help you out. If you have a bad day at Augusta National, at the U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship – that’s it. There’s four of these things every year, and there’s a lot of golfers who have the ability to win them. I believe there were 93 guys after Dustin Johnson pulled out. Ninety-three guys teed it up, and 92 of them went home disgusted, frustrated losers. They lost. At the end of the day, Justin Rose deserves to hold his head up high. He did a lot of really good things. But he didn’t leave happy. He doesn’t care about (the money or the runner-up trophy). He wants to win the championship. At the end of the day, there’s only four of these things to go around. A lot of times we got spoiled because Tiger Woods made us think, ‘Well, the guy that’s supposed to win ends up wining everything.’ That’s an anomaly. So many things have to go just right. Thankfully for Sergio and his fans, this year it did.”