Sergio Garcia wins the Masters in sudden-death playoff

Sergio Garcia celebrates with fiancee Angela Akins after winning the Masters at Augusta

Rose regrouped quickly, however, and has established himself as one of the game's leading players, now ranked 14th in the world.

He took off his cap and stood to the side of the green, resigned to his fate. Justin Rose, now up two strokes, looked like a machine, his ball in the middle of the fairway yet again.

Sergio Garcia of Spain points to the sky as he holds the Masters trophy after winning the 2017 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

Without that moment of steely determination - which oddly came at the same time Rose began to spray his irons and drives like Sunday Sergio of old - we might never have gotten the biggest shot of the tournament, Garcia's second shot into 15, which kissed the flagstick and came to rest in a spot where Garcia had a makeable eagle putt. "It is good for him to have the monkey off his back and I am very pleased for him". He missed several short putts in the final round that average hackers would have sunk blindfolded, but he did it anyway. Rose was poised to deliver a knockout on the par-5 13th when Garcia went left beyond the creek and into the bush.

"The way I tried to look at it was in a positive way, " he said. I've been through so much with him.

He didn't get down after missing a 6-foot putt on the 16th hole to fall out of the lead, or missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have won in regulation. He has had his fair share of heartbreak.

Indeed, Rose seemed genuinely happy for a player he considers both a rival and a friend.

As soon as it was over, Rose walked out to embrace Garcia in the middle of the green.

Since Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth combined to win four consecutive majors at the end of 2014 and start of 2015, seven players have shared the spoils in the past seven majors, much as it used to be before Woods. Major or no major, I said it many, many times: I have an fantastic life. "I would have liked to be on the right part of it". Rose then tapped Garcia on the heart, which turned out to be a lot bigger than anyone realized. While top contenders like world number three Jason Day of Australia blew away their chances in the high wind, scoring a two round eight-over 150, 25-time Masters starter Mickelson kept the damage limited to 143.

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The Spaniard and Englishman began the final round sharing top spot on the leaderboard, with American young guns Rickie Fowler and 2015 victor Jordan Spieth in hot pursuit.

Now that he has won a major, now that American golf fans may actually root for him instead of against, we might not have seen his best yet. "We wanted to beat the other guy not the other guy to lose". But he sank a 7-footer to save par. "That little two-shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament". I felt great. I felt in control.

The momentum had shifted and Garcia took full advantage, curling in a six-foot birdie putt at the 14th although Rose parred to stay one ahead.

"It's going to sting for sure", he said.

"But I made peace with it, I accepted what Augusta gives and takes and it brought me here".

Sergio Garcia, of Spain, is hugged by Justin Rose, of England, after making his birdie putt on the 18th green to win the Masters golf tournament after a playoff Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Augusta, Ga.

The eventual victor was Spain's Sergio Garcia who beat England's Justin Rose in a playoff after an epic duel on the famous back nine.

In 1999, as he was playing in the final round of the P.G.A. Championship, at the age of just nineteen, Sergio Garcia reached the eighteenth hole one shot behind the leader, Tiger Woods.

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