Sergio Garcia celebrates Masters victory he thought would never come

Sergio Garcia celebrates winning his maiden golf major the Masters at Augusta National

MIKE SEGAR REUTERS Sergio Garcia celebrates winning his maiden golf major the Masters at Augusta National

Coincidence or foreshadowing? Garcia arrived at Augusta to find that his caddie's bib number was 89, the same as Danny Willett's a year ago and the same as Jack Nicklaus' in his famous 1986 sixth Masters title.

It was worth the wait.

"It's awesome. 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 as he was presented with a famous green jacket by 2016 champion Danny Willett in Butler Cabin. In the playoff, Garcia had a birdie on No. 18, the hole he just played about 15 minutes prior, to edge Englishman Justin Rose for the title. But the putt missed to the right this time, and Garcia made it a moot point by rolling in his birdie.

Now, they're headed back to the 18th tee box for the first playoff hole, tied at 9-under 279.

"But I was like, well, if that's what is supposed to happen, let it happen".

If I'm being honest, Rory McIlroy hasn't played well this week - that's the bottom line.

He is now the third Spaniard to claim a green jacket, joining the two players who most influenced his career.

Spieth followed the double bogey with a bogey on the 14th hole to drop to +2 for the tournament.

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

"This is a tournament I am going to win one day".

The Spaniard's success came after a roller-coaster ride in the final round, leading by three shots at one point before slipping two strokes behind Rose after starting bogey-bogey on the homeward journey.

"I thought how stupid I really was to fight against something you can't fight and how proud I was of accepting things", Garcia said.

The 2015 champion Jordan Spieth, who suffered that infamous collapse to open the door for Danny Willett previous year, struggled from the outset in the penultimate group with close friend Rickie Fowler.

"Once you have one out of the way, the questions become easier", Rose said.

He had a shot, hitting his approach to about 14 feet. He showed passion and drive and the emotion of the same 19-year-old who did a mid-air scissor kick after a shot in the 1999 PGA Championship.

"I feel bad I went so downhill while Rickie was still in it, because it is tough when you don't see a ball go in the hole", he said. This drive was probably going three yards left of the ones I've hit the other three days, and unfortunately it hit the tree and went in the bush.

Rose could not help noticing Garcia was the crowd's favorite.

Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 champion, closed with a 68 to grab third at 6 under.

Not long afterward, Garcia's father, Victor, stood behind the Augusta National clubhouse, furiously pumping his arms into the sky, his face overwhelmed with emotion.

Or perhaps he was thinking of the 7-footer at the 17th, the one he just didn't hit hard enough, resulting in a bogey that sent him to the 72nd hole tied with Garcia.

The 36-year-old Olympic gold medallist and former US Open champion said he had first played Garcia when they were teenagers and they have been close friends ever since.

Rose went back ahead with a birdie on the 16th, but fell back into a tie with a bogie on the 17th, setting up the dramatic finish.

"I hit the putt exactly where I wanted".

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