Is 2017 the year that Sergio Garcia ends years of major futility?

Sergio Garcia of Spain Masters Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Is 2017 the year that Sergio Garcia ends years of major futility?

PGA Tour

Is 2017 the year that Sergio Garcia ends years of major futility?

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908. 

Northwestern made the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time in school history. 

This calendar year has been kind to long-time also-rans. Could this be the time Sergio Garcia snaps his own streak of futility and breaks through for his first major victory?

The world will be watching Sunday at Augusta National as the Spaniard, now 37, tries to fend off Masters co-leader Justin Rose, chasers Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth and his own demons to end his 0-for-73 streak in golf’s four most coveted events.

It seems like a century ago that Garcia burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old, battling Tiger Woods shot for shot at the PGA Championship only to fall a stroke short.

He’s had other opportunities at the Masters, the Open Championship, the PGA and U.S. Open. Garcia has finished second in majors four times, placed in the top 10 22 times.

After coming up short in the 2012 Masters, Garcia famously told Spanish reporters he wasn’t good enough to win a major.

He gets the chance to erase his own words on the National’s hallowed grounds in a final round that will certainly not be a day of rest. He and Rose go off in the final group at 2:45 p.m. EDT.

“It was hard but it was fun.” Garcia said Saturday after posting a 2-under-par 70 for a 210 total. “It was fun to play well again, to go through a Saturday at the Masters with a chance at winning, and, you know, to be up there going into tomorrow.”

Garcia looks fit for a green jacket, shaping shots and escaping trouble. He made four birdies and played the back nine two shots under par to set the stage. He and Rose are the only players in the Masters field not to shoot a round over par through 54 holes.

Sergio Garcia Masters 2017

Sergio Garcia wowed the crowd at Augusta National Saturday. He needs to do it again on Sunday if he hopes to win his first major. (Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)

The seemingly star-crossed Garcia even got some fortuitous bounces in Round 3, most notably on the 510-yard, par-5 13th hole. His approach shot wafted weakly over a Rae’s Creek tributary, slid down the hill and miraculously stopped short of the drink. He chipped off the steep bank within a foot, tapped in for birdie and again stands on the brink of a major breakthrough. Garcia looked toward the ANGC patrons and stuck out his tongue as if gasping for air.

Certainly beats choking.

“I’ve definitely had some good breaks throughout all three rounds,” Garcia said. “Thirteen was obviously was one of them. I didn’t feel like I hit a bad shot. Obviously I hit a good drive that went into that little first cut of rough, and unfortunately ‑‑ I was hitting plenty of club, but it was one of those things that the ball just came out really soft.  I had enough club to carry on that line, and unfortunately it didn’t.

“But fortunately for me, that bank seems to be a tiny bit longer this year, which is nice.  Because, you know, it gives you the possibility of getting a break like that, and then, you know, I still had to hit a great chip to make 4.  It wasn’t an easy chip.“ 

Garcia, engaged to be married to former Texas golfer Angela Akins, again stands at the altar of major greatness. With age has come perspective as his next moment of truth awaits.

“Having a chance to win a tournament is always exciting,” Garcia said.  “Having a chance of winning a major and winning here at Augusta, it’s extra exciting.

“So you do have to calm yourself down, not get ahead of yourself.  Take some nice, deep breaths.  And then, you know, just try to cope with whatever comes your way the best way possible.  I think that at the end of the day, that’s really the only thing you can do.  Like I said yesterday, when you go out there and do your best, there’s nothing else you can ask yourself for.”

Except, maybe, for the round of your career.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home