Major championships have evaded Sergio Garcia throughout his 18-year professional career.
The Spaniard turned pro in 1999 and has won 30 times since then, with nine of those on the PGA tour and another twelve on the European Tour.
This year’s Masters is his 74th major championship and he is still yet to win one. He is, however, in a great position to put aside his previous failures, as he bids to win the coveted green jacket. A victory on Sunday would be much more significant than just a first major win. The final day of this year’s Masters falls on Seve Ballesteros’s birthday.
Garcia’s fellow countryman would have turned 60 today so this will obviously add extra emotion for Garcia in what is already a monumental occasion and a crucial point in his career.
Quoted in The Mirror, Garcia explained his close connection to the three-time European Player of the Year.
“Everyone knows how much Seve means to everyone in Spanish golf.
“We all know it would have been his birthday on Sunday. I was a big fan of his – I still am. He had an aura. His passing still makes me sad. I miss him very much.”
A win would prove to himself and to the golfing world that he has the skill and mental capability to win a major. Another loss would have golf fans wondering if he will ever finish on top of the pile at any of golf’s four major championships.
His two under par round of 70 on Saturday has him tied for the lead going into Sunday. The other man on six under par is Justin Rose, who won his first major back in 2013. Rickie Fowler is a danger at -5 as he is also bidding for a maiden major. One shot further back is 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth. He made a move up the leaderboard on Saturday and is a real threat. He will definitely want to win in order to fully recover from last year’s final day nightmare at Augusta.
Garcia has finished in the top ten on 22 occasions in major championships. 2004 was his best ever finish at the Masters when he finished in a tie for fourth place. The tournament that year was won by Phil Mickelson.
By the end of Sunday will we be talking about how it was a long time coming and Garcia was a deserving champion or will we be given further evidence that the Spaniard isn’t cut out to win one of golf’s four prestigious major championships?
However, a victory for Garcia would be all the more just on the occasion of Ballesteros’s 60th birthday. It would be a fitting tribute to a real legend of the game of golf, a man that will never be forgotten.
Conor Daly, Pundit Arena