Garcia wins 1st major title at the Masters

Garcia said he thought of the late Seve Ballesteros while overcoming setbacks that would have derailed his less confident self. Both players shot 9-under 279 in regulation. Didn't his genius lie in his ability to turn vehicle wrecks into victory parades? "He fought his way back into it. Sergio should be very proud of himself".

As Garcia and Justin Rose slugged it out in an all-European duel for the Green Jacket, Spieth shot an error-strewn 75 and Fowler an ugly 76, extending his wait for a first major title.

Go ahead and put that slander of "best player to never win a major" to bed.

"It's unbelievable. To do it on his 60th birthday and to join him and Olazabal, my two idols in golf my whole life, it's something wonderful", Garcia said.

Sergio Garcia has set his sights on further success after emulating his golfing idols with victory at the Masters. No room for xenophobia Sunday.

And how Garcia returned the favor, blowing kisses in all directions, howling with long denied delight, at one point crouching on the green and pounding the flawless grass with glee. "I feel like if he misses at that point, I make, I'm four clear". It looked like it might be Carnoustie 2007 again, where he missed a putt to win the British Open and lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. All Rose could do was punch out barely past Garcia's pinpoint drive. It made no difference what Rose did from there (he bogeyed). Now, Hoffman is looking to break away once more. None of them saw the sunny side of par Sunday. The Englishman shared second at the Masters in 2015 behind Spieth.

In fact, other than hitting a ball in the water at No. 12 on Sunday, this "Spieth" was all but unrecognizable, an imposter in Under Armour.

There would be no clutter obscuring Garcia's breakthrough moment.

While the US Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship are all hard major tournaments to win, there is only one Masters and it's in Augusta until the end of time. The golf gods were finally smiling on Garcia.

"I knew I was playing well, I felt today the calmest I've ever felt on a major Sunday".

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Back then, it was known as the Augusta National Invitational.

Deadlocked after nine holes, the two friends and rivals produced an enthralling back nine showdown worthy of any Masters champion in what became a head-to-head battle. "Just make sure we have a good chance coming into the last five or six holes, and see what happens". And hit a good shot into 10, which I rarely do. He went astray both right and left on No. 11. But the Spaniard pulled the putt, settling for a par that left him one stroke behind with two holes remaining. But I knew that I could still work it around, you know, if I just accepted what was happening. On 13, I hit a attractive drive and a lovely second shot straight over the flag and I made six.

Garcia won - read and watch the blow by blow account of how it happened here.

"Could I have made the putt on 17?"

Garcia birdied the 14th to get within one.

"Jose Maria's [note] was very special because he's my idol".

Garcia, with 19 years' worth of disappointment in the major championships behind him - literally if not figuratively - followed that with a birdie on the 14th and then a spectacular eagle on the 15th hole, dropping a 14-foot putt that just died into the centre of the cup.

The winning putt swirled into the cup on the first playoff hole, giving "El Niño" a Masters green jacket and giving the country's golden generation of sports stars a new life. But he doesn't do anything nice and easy. I mean, it takes a long time. It's not going to be a disaster.

And Seve will join them there in spirit.

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