More than a decade after the label was hung on him, Garcia finally shed the label of “best player to never have…” at the 2017 Masters. He had gone 72 majors without winning, the longest such streak on record.
“The way I looked at it, at least ‘best player’ was there,” he told reporters after beating Justin Rose in a playoff. “Now maybe I’m the best player to win only one major…I can live with that.”
Garcia emerged from a compact pack. Six behind Charley Hoffman following an opening 71, he produced rounds of 69 and 70 to tie Rose for the lead at six-under through three rounds.
The final round was a see-saw battle between the two veterans. Garcia birdied two of the first three holes to two a two-stroke lead, but by the eighth Rose had erased that difference.
Garcia fell two behind with bogeys at 10 and 11, but an eagle at 15 re-set the tie. Rose promptly broke it with a birdie at 16, then bogeyed 17 to establish the tie yet again. Both player sparred 18, sending Garcia into a playoff yet again, this time with a major at stake.
In that playoff, Rose’s drive found the trees right of the fairway, and his only option was to pitch out. Garcia hit the center of the fairway, and lofted his second 12 feet from the flag. After Rose pitched on and missed his par putt, Garcia rolled in his own birdie putt to wrap up the biggest title of his life.