We all know the wedding adage: Something old, something new, right? Well, Sergio Garcia may have the “new” part covered. This summer, when he weds Angela Akins in Texas, he may walk down the aisle wearing his Masters’ green jacket.
Tuesday morning, appearing on the “The Today Show” in New York City and asked about such a possibility by co-host Savannah Guthrie, Garcia said the idea is gaining momentum.
“You’re not the first one to ask that,” Garcia told Guthrie, smiling. “We’ve been talking about it, and it hasn’t been decided yet. But it’s a big possibility.”
Garcia, 37, captured his first major on Sunday at Augusta National, outlasting his European Ryder Cup teammate, Justin Rose, in a playoff to win the 81st Masters. It was Garcia’s 74th overall start in a major.
What was it that led him to finally break through?
Garcia ready for Masters success
“I think it was just belief, simple as that,” he said. “I said it all week. I was very, very calm throughout the whole week. Saturday probably was the only day I was a little more nervous, because of the past. And Sunday it’s the calmest I felt almost in any tournament, even though I was playing for a green jacket. It was just an amazing feeling throughout the whole day.”
Garcia and Rose began Sunday tied for the lead, and remained knotted after shooting matching 3-under 69s to finish at 9-under 279. Rose drove it into the right trees on the first playoff hole, the par-4 18th, and made bogey. Faced with two putts from 12 feet to earn his green jacket, Garcia stepped up, gently sent his putt toward the hole, and watched it tumble in for birdie along the left edge of the cup.
Garcia, who will not play again until next month’s Players Championship (May 11-14) in Florida, added more depth regarding the text that fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion, left for him the day before the tournament.
“He said, ‘I think you’re one of the best golfers that’s ever been out there. It’s such a pleasure for me to call you my friend. Just go out there this week, do what you know how to do, just be yourself.’
“And he said, ‘I’m not sharing my locker (in Augusta National’s upstairs Champions Locker Room) with anyone at the moment, and I want to share it with you. So I hope that you have an amazing week and next year we can be together up here.’ That was really cool.”
Garcia said he was amazed by the tremendous support he received on Sunday from the patrons at Augusta National. After he’d made a pivotal eagle at the par-5 15th hole (kissing the flagstick with his second shot) and he and Rose had made the short walk to the 16th tee, Garcia could hear a big roar up near the 18th green. He figured that some player must have holed a big shot up ahead.
Instead, some friends informed him afterward the loud roar that echoed across the course was simply the reaction from patrons around the 18th green when Garcia’s eagle-3 at 15 was posted on the giant scoreboard that sits about 50 yards away.
“It was just amazing to feel that energy and love that everybody showed me, it was just incredible,” he said.
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, as he rose in the dark to continue his New York media tour, Garcia said he opened the closet in his hotel room and saw the green jacket hanging, and the magnitude of what he has accomplished began to sink in.
Sergio Garcia, after so much major heartbreak, is now and forever a major champion.
“So nice to say ‘Masters champion’ Sergio Garcia,” Today co-host Matt Lauer told him as he introduced him.
Said Garcia, “It doesn’t sound nice. It sounds amazing. It’s a dream come true. … When I opened the closet and saw the jacket in there, it definitely brought a huge smile to my face.”