Sergio Garcia: Winning the Open Championship would be bigger than the Masters


He and Seve were my idols since I was very little.

They were on level terms two holes later after Garcia nearly made an albatross at the par-five 15th, his eight-iron second landing inches short of the hole before brushing the pin and trickling 14 feet away, from where he made his eagle putt, the ball teetering on the edge of the cup before toppling in.

Rose's playoff tee shot soared deep into trees right of the fairway but bounced out onto pine straw while Garcia found the fairway.

Garcia admitted that his major victory only began to "sink in" Tuesday morning, when he "couldn't help but laugh" upon opening his closet door and finding the green jacket tucked inside.

Both men played the flawless hole up until the green where Rose missed a seven-foot birdie putt to hand Garcia his chance, but he rolled a shorter - but arguably more testing putt - wide of the hole and they would soon replay the last.

Both players shot 3-under 69s on Sunday before heading into the playoff.

Not since Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal in 1994 had a Masters champion eagled on the back nine in the final round.

Garcia competed in 73 of them before this weekend with Padraig Harrington denying him glory at The Open in 2007 and the PGA Championship in 2008.

In the end, when he needed two putts after Rose missed his putt for par.

That shot to the green.hitting the pin!

England's Paul Casey (68) ended up alone in sixth at 284, while Kevin Chappell (68) and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (69) tied for seventh at 285.

Perhaps that is why several of them chimed in to praise Garcia's achievement. "I felt positive. I felt confident", said Rose. "So I have plenty more looks, and I feel good about it happening". "If I had to lose to anybody, it would be to Sergio". He has had his fair share of heartbreak.

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Garcia smacked his 73rd tee shot in a virtual xerox of his 72nd drive down the fairway, practically sealing his win in almost two decades of Masters play.

Both had birdie putts. The centerpiece was a scrambling par at No. 13 that required the kind of grit even he must have doubted he had.

Rose's winning putt didn't break left.

With no clear view of the green, Rose had to punch out.

"I really felt like I had it under control at the turn, I was playing really great golf", Rose said. There was much to savour, but one hole stood out from the rest, and it was the 15th, where the Spaniard made an incredibly timely eagle to tie the Englishman. "I played well. He made a great comeback". "I just want to win here", said Rose. "That putt really turned the clock a little bit for me".

On the 72nd regulation hole, Rose missed an eight-foot birdie putt, leaving Garcia a five-footer to win, but he pushed it wide right.

From there, Garcia birdied 14 and eagled 15 to pull into a tie at 9 under. He could go on and win a couple more times this year for sure.

Spieth, who had birdies on three of his last four holes, was just happy to finish under par.

"We were cheering each other", Garcia said.

The caddies who've seen their partner don the green jacket get to keep the flags from the 18th hole of a major - Murray now has one from the Masters. But he has won the US Open and is the reigning Olympic champion.

The idea of being the 2017 Masters champion hasn't quite sunk in yet.

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