Sergio Garcia’s close calls in major championships
By Golf Digest Middle East
|April 11, 2017
Sergio Garcia’s first major title at the 2017 Masters came by way of plenty of heartache. After 18 years narrowly missing out in golf’s biggest events, he finally broke through to defeat Justin Rose in a playoff to capture the green jacket. To appreciate his journey, let’s take a closer look at Garcia’s checkered history in the majors.
By Alex Myers
At 19, Garcia nearly caught a 23-year-old Tiger Woods with a back-nine charge at Medinah. That included his famous recovery shot from the base of a tree on the 16th hole. Even though he came up a shot short, Garcia had to be pleased with the breakthrough performance. Besides, there would be plenty of majors to come — or so, everyone thought.
Garcia battled Woods again, this time in the final pairing at Bethpage Black. But after a Saturday 67 brought him to within four shots, Garcia battled with his swing, his pre-shot routine, and a rowdy crowd on the way to a final-round 74 to finish fourth.
Garcia once again took on Tiger (are you sensing a trend?). And came up short. A confident Sergio showed up to the first tee on Sunday decked out in an all-yellow ensemble following a back-nine 29 on Saturday that got him into the final group. But he was never a serious threat, shooting 73 to Woods’ 67.
Sergio’s closest call came at Carnoustie in 2007 when he led after the first, second and third rounds. Finally not battling Tiger down the stretch at a major, he lipped out an eight-foot par putt for the win on the 72nd hole. Then Garcia lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington and indicated he thought the golf gods were against him. “I should write a book on how not to miss a shot in the playoff and shoot one over.”
For a second consecutive year, Garcia was neck-and-neck with Harrington on the back nine at a major before faltering again. This time, he dumped his approach shot into the water on the 16th hole and then added another bogey on 18 to lose by two shots.
This one, Garcia could live with. He began the round seven shots behind Rory McIlroy, but an eagle on the 10th hole got him to five under on the round and to within two shots. But he never got any closer. He bogeyed the 15th hole and even two birdies over his final three holes left him T-2, two shots behind McIlroy. But at least this time . . .
Finally, a happy ending. In the tournament that seemed to haunt him most, Garcia broke through with a dramatic win in the 2017 Masters, defeating Justin Rose in a playoff to capture a green jacket, and a first major title in his 74th start.