Rose leaves Augusta National knowing he let a major opportunity slip away

All that mattered was Garcia and Rose, who delivered a final hour as compelling as any at the Masters and a champion who began to wonder if he would ever win a major.

Garcia hit the headlines at Augusta National five years ago when he finished in a tie for 12th and declared that he was "not good enough" to win a major, but a more positive attitude drove him to a dramatic play-off win over Justin Rose at the first hole of a play-off. The 37-year-old Spaniard, who has nine career PGA Tour wins and 18 worldwide victories, credited his new attitude as a big reason why he is no longer one of the best players in the world without a signature victory, saying it was the calmest he's ever felt in a major on Sunday.

Even for sheer persistence alone, he deserved this success and how appropriate that it should come on the day that Seve Ballesteros would have turned 60.

Still, it was easy to sense Spieth's disappointment detailing his miscues after the round while Garcia and Rose were locked in battle that eventually was won by the Spaniard in a playoff.

Garcia continued on his crusade, not allowing the negatives to penetrate his consciousness.

"You can put a line on it and say most probably it will be the last one, " Els said before the tournament started. He bogeyed those holes.

Garcia repeatedly said the par save on No. 13 was crucial to pulling out the Masters championship.

"It's been such a long time coming", added Garcia, who shared a warm embrace with Rose and a passionate one with his fiancee. "So you've just got to roll with it and realize that sometimes you're going to get good breaks - like has happened to me a few times this week - and sometimes you're going to get not-so-good breaks". I feel comfortable on the golf course and feel like every time I tee up I've got a chance to win.

Garcia had to take a penalty shot there, but managed to save par. It would be nice, but no - I don't know.

Sergio went on to birdie the 14th and then he eagled the 15th, hitting a dazzling approach shot to within 14 feet. 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.

Gone now perhaps is the pain and heartbreak from some of his previous performances in majors. At the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah, he lost to Tiger Woods by one. But Garcia didn't need to two-putt his final hole. At the 2012 Masters, Sergio was in contention on Saturday but shot a 75.

"Fortunately", Spieth said, "I get to come back for another 50 years".

"I'm just thrilled to be standing here, it's always a lovely thing to have".

Garcia has garnered a reputation as one of the greatest golfers to never win a major.

"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.

Garcia said he felt calmer Sunday than he had on the final day of a major than ever before. So it did cross my mind. "Hopefully he can start to kick up the success rate a little bit more".

"It's incredible to do it on Seve's 60th birthday and to join the two idols in my life is something fantastic, too", said the 37-year-old before having the Green Jacket slipped over his shoulders by Danny Willett. It's not going to be a disaster.

  • Julie Sanders