On Sunday, Sergio Garcia won his first Major on Sunday, winning the Masters with a playoff victory over Justin Rose.
Previously. Garcia had piled up six second or third-place finishes at Majors, but had never been particularly close at Augusta; his previous best was a tie fourth in 2004.
Here’s a look at the near misses that made Sunday so special for the 37-year-old Spaniard.
1999 PGA Championship – Garcia was 19, Tiger Woods was 23. Garcia was a month removed from his first pro win, the 1999 Irish Open. He fired an opening-round 66 to lead the way, got the jitters on Friday, then rallied back to 9-under through 54, tied for third and two shots off the lead. Down to Woods by five through 11 holes, he cut that lead to one stroke when Woods’ double-bogeyed No. 13 while Garcia birdied it. He could never get even and lost by one stroke.
2005 US Open – He was even par through two rounds, but that was good enough for a tie for sixth and two shots back of the leaders. A third-round 75 took him out of the running but he shot a 70 on Sunday to tie for third, 5 strokes off the lead.
2006 PGA Championship – He shot a red-hot 3-under in the first round which was great except that more than 20 others shot that or better. He reached 10-under through 54 with a 67, but Tiger Woods’ 65 and Luke Donald’s 66 had those two tied for the lead at 14-under. He was 2-under on the final day to reach 12-under but tied for third as Woods dominated the course with an 18-under final.
2007 Open Championship – When he first saw Carnoustie in 1999, Garcia shot an 89 there. On the first day this year, he fired a 6-under 65 for a two-stroke lead. He went even par on Friday to keep the two-stroke lead, and seemed to be on the verge with a 3-under 68 on Saturday that pushed the lead to 9-under. It call came apart on Sunday. Despite leading Ireland’s Padraig Harrington by six strokes after four holes, the two wound up in a playoff. Garcia lost three shots in four holes on bogeys between No. 5 and No. 8, then fought back to 9-under, only to have Harrington tie him with an eagle on No. 14. Harrington took a 1-stroke lead into No. 18 only to double-bogey the hole while Garcia missed a 10-foot par putt for the title, forcing the playoff. In the four-hole aggregate playoff, Garcia bogeyed the first hole while Harrington birdied it. Garcia’s birdie putt on the fourth hole lipped the cup and Harrington took the crown.
2008 PGA Championship – Scores were low right out of the gate and Garcia’s opening-round 1-under put him a shot behind the leaders. He dropped back to 2-over through 36 but that was still only three shots off the lead. The third round was delayed by heavy rains, but when it cleared, Garcia got hot with a 69 that saw him move within three strokes of the lead at 1-over. He eagled the second hole of the final round to move within a stroke of leader Ben Curtis, then tied Curtis at 3-under when the other bogeyed No. 8. Garcia was in the lead all alone at 3-under. He was up two strokes through 11 when old nemesis Padraig Harrington made his move, birdying 10, 12, and 13 to tie Garcia for the lead. Garcia bogeyed No. 16 to fall behind and lost by a stroke.
2014 Open Championship – In a frenetic first-round, Rory McIlroy shot 6-under to open a lead; Garcia was one of seven men to sit back at 4-under with a 68. He climbed to 6-under on Day 2 to stay in third place, but McIlroy shot a second 66 to open up a 6-shot lead. Garcia was down 7 shots through 54 before making his charge with a final-round 66 that fell just short. McIlroy won the tournament at 17-under with Garcia and Rickie Fowler tying for second at 15-under.