Garcia wins first ever Major

What would have been Seve's 60th on Sunday. He would have been ready for the rest home if he'd had to watch his Spanish countryman lurch and spurt to his first major championship. When Rose missed a short putt at 17 to fall back into a tie with Garcia, a huge cheer went up a few seconds later at No. 18 when the leaderboard brought the news.

"I definitely feel like this is a tournament that I'm going to win one day", he said. I think it bounced and ricocheted off the flag and went to probably about 12 feet or so. "He said, 'Nobody deserves it more than you do, I'm very happy for you, enjoy it.' It was a great battle".

"I did think about it, am I ever going to win one?"

Garcia knotted the score at 9-under with an eagle on No. 15, becoming the first Masters champion to eagle No. 15 in the final round since fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal. "Best player is still best player". He made only seven bogeys and ground out 50 pars. Garcia drove perfectly and threaded a 9-iron to within 12 feet. He had another birdie putt. He played fantastically, as did Rose, but there has to be a Victor and there can only be one. Rose bogeyed. Garcia birdied.

And while Garcia possessed the talent to put himself in the mix at golf's premier events - as his 22 top-10 finishes coming into this week attests - his mental toughness was questioned. On 11 he pulled his tee shot into bushes and 3-putted.

At the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, Garcia found water at the 16th on Sunday and Harrington surged to another major title. But he sank a 7-footer to save par. The lead stayed at two.

Both the spirit of the contest with Rose and the sportsmanship shown by both in the aftermath enhanced the spectacle "At the end of the day we were both trying to win, we're all trying to win", he said. "So if you guys wouldn't mind putting me with Jose, it would be great".

At the par-5 15th, Garcia blasted a tee shot beyond 300 yards then lofted his approach off the flagstick, to set up a 15-foot eagle putt that slowed before falling in to fist-pumping joy as the crowd roared. Garcia, meanwhile, played two textbook shots to 10 feet, and after Rose missed his par putt, Garcia's birdie putt curled in the left side.

McIlroy shot par 72 on Thursday and one-over 73 on Friday in swirling winds gusting up to 40mph (65kph) and was looking for a third round in the 60s to keep his hopes alive.

The two hit classic shots into 18 and then hit forgettable putts.

"That little two-shot swing there was when he was back in the tournament", the Englishman said. "It's a subtle break. I just want to win here". "I hit it where I wanted".

Positive, happy and calm were not attributes one would normally have used to describe the 37-year-old Garcia on the golf course prior to this week.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler shared misery.

It was so tight that the European Ryder Cup teammates had to go an extra hole before Garcia closed it out with a birdie.

He said the results weren't shocking, "just a little weird".

Garcia said he has a great life and appreciated it even if he never won a major, but his record in big tournaments did get into his head a bit. Finally, on Sunday, he was elusive enough to shake it.

  • Julie Sanders