After Masters, top players eye more majors

Hazel Gray
April 15, 2017

After four runner-up finishes and years of self doubt, Spain's Garcia finally delivered the long-awaited title that seemed destined to forever elude him.

Stricker made eagle on the par-5 second and had birdies on holes 4, 12, 15 and 17.

The victory now removes Garcia from the conversation of best players without a major win, though the new Masters champion is keeping his perspective. "But this is a tournament I am going to win one day".

"I'm not going to lie - it's not the golf course that I'm most comfortable in, because I've become more of a fader than a drawer of the ball, and this golf course is asking you to hit a lot of draws". So it did cross my mind.

"The most positive thing is that I feel like I have so much room for improvement", he said.

The pair exchanged the lead on numerous occasions during the final round at Augusta but after missing one putt to win in regulation play, Garcia birdied the first playoff hole after Rose could only make a bogey.

But Garcia staged a fantastic comeback to take the game to a play-off and the popular Spaniard held his nerve to get a birdie and win his first major tournament at the 74th attempt.

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Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in 2011, inspired a generation of golfers in his country, winning the green jacket in 1980 and 1983.

Rose was two shots ahead when Garcia bogeyed the 10th and 11th, but on what would have been the 60th birthday of Seve Ballesteros, his fellow Spaniard Garcia crucially saved par after an errant drive and penalty shot on the 13th. "I didn't ask my caddie's opinion because the putt fell towards the left".

Garcia is a huge Real Madrid soccer fan, and club legend Luis Figo was on hand to help celebrate in Augusta. But he finally broke through, and everybody will view him in another perspective now.

In a golfing sense, "El Niño" had graduated to "El Hombre", having joined his heroes Seve and Jose Maria Olazabal as Masters champions... Everybody works in a workforce and if you had 150 guys in your workforce, there's some guys you get on with and there's some guys you don't necessarily.

"It is wonderful, and the patrons here are just unbelievable, how respectful they are, how much they cheer for you".

"He deserves it. He's had his fair share of heartbreak". Rose was in trouble from the start with a tee shot that sailed right, leaving him blocked by a Magnolia tree. Then, the nightmare of 2007 at the Open was revisited on Sunday when he had a five-foot putt to win at Augusta following Justin Rose's missed birdie effort at the 18th.

By the time Garcia started to lose his grip on the green jacket, as expected - coupled with Justin Rose mixing in some birdies of his own - much of the zip was gone from the early hours of CBS' broadcast.

Other reports by VgToday

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