With Tiger Woods announcing prior to the tournament beginning, that injury that forced him to pull out of a tournament in February, meant the Masters had come too soon and he wouldn’t be making an appearance at the venue he first won at 20 years ago.
Then on the eve of the tournament, holder, Dustin Johnson, had a slip and damaged his back. This seemed to be ok, until he stepped out for the first round on Thursday and promptly decided not to risk it any further and pulled out.
Then the drama unfolded out on the greens, as Sergio Garcia, a much talented golfer of 37 years had never landed himself one of the big majors. Always a contender, but never a winner. Such talent from the Spaniard has made him a major member of Europe’s Ryder Cup winning sides over the decades. Another much lauded member of that team is the 2013 US Open and 2016 Golf medallist, Britain’s Justin Rose.
Both players, friends on and off the course, made their assault for the top of the leaderboard during Saturday’s action, as Rory McIroy and Jordan Speith two favourites for the ‘green jacket’ didn’t materialise.
By Sunday, Rose and Garcia were pairing up as the last group out on the course, a rivalry that goes back to junior days, and the crowd were entertained to a thrilling 18 holes.
By the turn, it seemed Rose may well be on course for his first Masters title, as Garcia struggled, especially at the 13th when he was forced to take a one-shot penalty after an erratic tee shot. But an eagle at the 15th threw the Spaniard a lifeline as the pair entered the final few holes. But with the light fading and both missing chances at the last to seal a poignant victory, it meant a sudden death hole play off for the pair.
A fantastic day’s golf was decided when, Garcia at his 74th go at winning a major tournament, birdied the 18th, whilst Rose’s bogey sealed the Englishman’s fate.
“It has been such a long time coming. I knew I was playing well. I felt the calmest I ever felt in a major,” said Garcia on the BBC.
An upbeat Rose, paid tribute to his victorious opponent. “It is disappointing to come so close. I felt in control until the end. But am really happy for Sergio. I’d love to be wearing the Green Jacket but if it wasn’t me then I’m glad it is him,” Rose told the BBC website.