Jack Nicklaus: Sergio Garcia 'played like the champion he is'

Sergio Garcia Masters 2017 Michael Madrid/USA TODAY Sports

Jack Nicklaus: Sergio Garcia 'played like the champion he is'

PGA Tour

Jack Nicklaus: Sergio Garcia 'played like the champion he is'

Six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus posted a congratulatory note to Sergio Garcia via social media Sunday following Garcia’s sudden-death Masters championship.

Garcia, 37, won his first major title after 74 tries and, of course, his first green jacket.

“I thought Sergio played very composed, played very well, and he played like he wasn’t going to be denied – even after he made a couple mistakes. He fought his way back into it. Sergio was just very composed all day; he played very nicely; and played well within himself. Sergio should be very proud of himself. He played like the champion that he is,” Nicklaus wrote.

Garcia and Justin Rose were tied after 54 holes, and tied again after 72 holes. They entered the playoff at 9 under before Garcia birdied the first extra hole (No. 18) and Rose bogeyed it.

“Sergio and Justin played great golf. It was exciting to watch. It was a fun tournament for all, including me. I know the people who watched it, enjoyed it, because it was really, really good golf,” Nicklaus wrote.

Seve Ballesteros

Seve Ballesteros would have been 60 on Sunday He was a boyhood hero of Garcia’s. (Getty Images)

The victory came on what would have been Seve Ballesteros’ 60th birthday. Ballesteros won the Masters twice. He died in 2011. Garcia was the third Spaniard to win at Augusta, joining Ballesteros and fellow two-time winner Jose Maria Olazabal.

“That was very appropriate and very nice for Sergio,” Nicklaus wrote.

Nicklaus wrote that he was impressed with how Garcia rallied after he had bogeyed 10 and 11 and cited Garcia’s spectacular par save at No. 13 as the tournament’s “defining moment.”

“I thought, ‘Oh no, here it goes again. Is Sergio going to be able to finish?’ Then he made a great 5 at 13,” Nicklaus wrote.

He added: it “looked like he was going to have a disaster at 13, and then gets out of it with par. Without that, I think it would have been very difficult to come back – even with the birdie at 14 and eagle at 15. He would have put himself probably too far behind. I think the key was the par at 13. … That was pretty sensational for Sergio to get himself back in a position to be in a playoff. And then to play the two shots he did on the playoff hole, they were struck perfectly. Then he made a great putt. Justin played beautifully; Sergio just finished it better than he did.”

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