The wait for Sergio Garcia is over. The 37-year-old Spaniard won the first major of his career Sunday, outlasting Justin Rose in a playoff to win the Masters at Augusta National.
“I thought this was one of the most fun Masters in the last few years,” Golf Channel and PGA Tour Radio’s Matt Adams said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I’m not trying to take away anything from what Danny Willett did last year, and I’m not trying to take away from the dominance that Jordan Spieth showed the year before that. But those were very different type of Masters. The way that this one came down the stretch – first of all, it looked like, Sergio, good try, but the demons perhaps of the past overtook him and he just didn’t have the nerve to hold it together, and all of a sudden he (turned it around). Everything coming together the way that it did was so much fun to see and so exciting to see. And then they go into a playoff, and it was pretty brilliant golf played in the playoff, too.”
Garcia, who has more top-10 finishes in majors that anyone else on the PGA Tour, became the first Masters champion since 1997 (Tiger Woods) to play all four rounds under par.
“I think this means so much to him because whenever you hear pundits talk about Sergio, they’ll always talk about the scar tissue,” Adams said. “And what they’re talking about is reliving what has happened in the past, where – whether it be a twist of fate or whether it be by his own hand – he has doomed his efforts. This time, he didn’t do it. He looked like he was going to do it down the stretch but then he turned it on and he turned it the opposite direction and was able to lose and was able to win. He said afterwards that he never felt so calm at a major championship, which is really interesting for Sergio.”
Sunday’s cathartic Masters could be a career-changer for Garcia.
“Sergio had a petulance to him over the years, and part of it, to be fair, and we see this a lot with players that are learning the English language, it’s hard for them to choose the perfect words to express their emotions, and he was subject to that over the years to a certain extent,” Adams said. “Sergio did have, independent of that, a tendency to be a little bit whiny, and part of that came from the fact that he was such a dominant young player. He does have the heart of a fighter in him, too – and that’s part of the thing that now we’ll probably now respect more, as he’s gotten older, to say, ‘Oh yeah, that feisty kid that kind of stood up to the galleries, now you see him as a guy that had resiliency because of that.’ I just think it’s a natural curve. I think it happens to everybody. And I’ll tell you: The 37-year-old Sergio that’s going to get married in July, he really is a good guy. He’s not a guy that’s off-putting. He’s not a guy that looks down to you. He’s not a guy that will blow you off and ignore you. He’s just not that type of person. He’s the type of person you could go out to dinner with and have a nice time.”