Sergio Garcia effortlessly slipped the green jacket on, following his triumphant victory in the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta. With 73 major tournaments under his belt, his 74th proved to be his moment to shine. His smile dazzled the photographers as Danny Willett (2016 champion) handed over the coveted garment.
The tournament itself had not been so effortless, and Sergio had run into difficulties, losing his lead on the 10th hole and misdirecting his drive on the 11th, before pulling off an amazing recovery. This was swiftly followed by a bogey on the 12th and an altercation between his ball and a bush on the 13th hole.
Compare this to the cool, emotionless play of Sergio’s opponent in the playoff, Justin Rose, and you would be forgiven for thinking Senor Garcia was heading for anywhere but the title.
Sergio had no such reservations. With positive words of encouragement spurring him on (his fiancée Angela Atkins asked family and friends to send inspirational notes), he went on to put away a 12-foot birdie putt that would secure him the title and silence the doubters in one fell swoop. Sergio Garcia donned his green jacket with pride, and he certainly wore it well.
The Young Sergio Garcia
Sergio was born on January 9th, 1980, in a small town called Borriol (near Castellon), in Spain. Golf was already very much at the heart of the Garcia family, Victor (Sergio’s father) had himself been a pro golf player. Following this, Victor became a coach at Club de Campo del Mediterraneo and Consuela (Sergio’s mother) managed the pro shop at the same club.
At the tender age of three, Victor introduced Sergio to Club de Campo and the pleasures of golf. It came as no surprise that Sergio shared his parent’s interest, and it soon became apparent that he was on course to be a golfing star of the future.
At just 12, Sergio won his club championship and, at 15, was invited to join a European Tour event. At 18, he put the cherry firmly on the cake by becoming a professional golf player. 1999 was to be a breakthrough year for Sergio (or El Nino as he became known) when he qualified for the Ryder Cup and joined the European team.
Over a career spanning more than a decade, several memorable moments stand out. In 1999, a young Sergio was closely chasing the tail of Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship held at the Medinah Country Club. At the 16th hole, Sergio ended up in an awkward position when his ball came to rest behind a tree. Despite the terrible position, Sergio hit a fabulous shot that sent the ball back onto the green. Sergio may not have won the tournament, but that shot won him worldwide acclaim.
Sergio was only 21 when he won the 2001 MasterCard Colonial Tournament in Texas (2001) — his first PGA TOUR title. He managed to go one further by doing it again that same year, winning at the Buick Classic event in New York.
In 2002 while playing a practice round at the Masters, Sergio managed an albatross (a double eagle) on the 2nd hole (deemed a par-5). This was quite an accomplishment, and Sergio is among only a small number of players to achieve such a feat.
The sport always comes with its highs and lows, and, in the 2007 Open Championship, Sergio experienced the bitter blow of disappointment. Sergio entered the final round four shots ahead, and victory was within putting distance. Unfortunately, it was not to be, and Padraig Harrington claimed the title instead.
Sergio demonstrated his passion for the game back in 2013 when he played the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, Florida. Things weren’t going all that well and, on the 6th hole (which was a par 5), Sergio was already on nine shots, with his tenth shot, unfortunately, resulting in the ball resting in a tree.
Undaunted, Sergio looked to an unorthodox method to remedy the situation. He climbed onto a golf cart and carefully into the tree. He then called to his caddy for a club and sent the ball sailing down to the green. Golf carts are more often useful for ferrying players, caddies, and clubs around the green. We can only applaud Sergio for his innovative approach (although he did injure himself on his descent, so we wouldn’t recommend this).
Sergio has achieved many accolades during his long and illustrious career. From winning the European Amateur title in 1995 to his recent superb victory at the 2017 Masters, there has been plenty in between. The playoff against Tiger Woods in the 1999 PGA Championship gave Sergio a real standing in the world of professional golf.
Since then, he has enjoyed success across a number of continents, including Asia, Europe, and America, and he has won over 20 international tournaments. These include the THE PLAYERS Championship (2008) and the HSBC Champions Tournament (2008), among numerous others.
Sergio had a real affinity for the Ryder Cup and was a valued member of the European Ryder Cup Team from 1999 through to 2012, except for 2010, when he was “taking a break” from playing competitive golf. This continued success has led to Sergio enjoying a top ten position in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) for over ten years; he is currently ranked as 7th. Sergio reached his highest ranking (2nd) following his victory in the HSBC Champions tournament (November 2008).
On a Personal Note
With his level of success, it’s hard to imagine Sergio finding time for anything other than his golf. But, somehow, he manages to fit in a personal life, too, and has recently celebrated his engagement to Angela Atkins. Sergio also has another romance on the go — his passion for football (Real Madrid count him as one of their loyal supporters).
He plays, too, for his home team of Borriol FC, where he combines kicking a ball with being president of the team. Sergio also enjoys playing tennis and is fond of travel, and we advise you to think twice should he challenge you to a game of poker. He played on the Poker Stars tour!
With an estimated net worth of around $70 million USD (2017), you can’t help but feel Sergio has it all. His dedication to golf and determination to succeed (even when things aren’t going his way) has secured his place in the hall of golfing greats. Sergio Garcia has more than earned his spot in the Champions Locker Room.