April 10, 2017
Sergio finally wins his first major!
Does Hollywood write the scripts for the Masters? Every year the drama gets more interesting. Sergio Garcia wins his first major on what would have been Seve Ballesteros's 60th birthday. He eagles 15 just like Jose Maria Olazabal did when he won his championship. The Spaniard out-duels Justin Rose, who equally deserved his first green jacket. Each hit great clutch shots, but also stumbled with missed opportunities and spotty putting. In the end, Sergio hit one more quality drive then Justin and closed the deal with a stellar iron to 10 feet.
Going into the final round it was widely speculated that the winner would come from the Jordan Spieth and Ricky Fowler pairing. Each failed spectacularly in their own way. Jordan put himself out of contention on the front nine. His tee shot into the water at 12 only put an exclamation point on his troubled last round. Ricky on the other hand failed down the stretch. His even par 36 on the front nine put him three behind with nine to play. The Masters are won on the back nine and that is when the great players do great things. Ricky again was not great and stumbled to a four over par 40 coming in. The American duo was supposed to apply the pressure, but they were nothing more than extras to the marquis pairing in the final group.
Usually the Masters' champions putted superbly and displayed great touch around the greens. This year the winner and runner-up hit the ball better than everyone else. Hitting the fairways and hitting more greens reduced the need to putt exceptionally well. Each made enough putts to get into the lead, but it was their exceptional ball striking that got them there.
Sergio, until this tournament, was the best player not to have won a major. His weakness has always been his putting. To win a major, he needed to have an exceptional ball striking week and not come up against a player that could out putt him. In Justin Rose he had his equal in ball striking, but also matched his average putting.
The movie script was set, the actors were cast, the stars were aligned, and the stage was ready. Sergio was in the ideal situation and his time finally came and he delivered. Augusta National produced another gem. Sergio Garcia is a Masters champion. He is a worthy addition to a select group of exceptional golfers. Hollywood couldn't have written a better ending.