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Viewpoint: Garcia’s Major Testament to Perseverance

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Matt Slocum

Matt Slocum

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Cal U'Ren, Sports Reporter

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73 failed attempts and a lot of self-doubt along the way; Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia finally won a major. With a triumphant fist pump and the green jacket draped over his shoulders, it was a moment many golf fans never thought they’d witness.

Professional Golf Association (PGA) players all have the skill to drive a ball hundreds of yards, or read a 30-foot put; what often separates them is their mental ability in pressure situations. For years Garcia suffered through golf’s cruelty, becoming known as a choke artist in majors and one of the most recognizable faces on the tour to never have the accomplishment on his resume.

The losing took an exorbitant toll on Garcia’s outlook on winning a major. He finished as a runner up on four separate occasions, twice in both The PGA Championship and The Open Championship. He also holds the record for most top-10 finishes in majors, demonstrating his consistency and talent.

Continual disappointment in actually winning a major led him to become vocal that he thought it would never happen, which is nearly unheard of among professionals in any sport. The pressure made him take a break from golf in 2010, using the time to reconsider and refocus his energy.

Garcia salvaged a par five on hole 13 after needing a drop shot due to a bad lie. He immediately went off the course for a bathroom break. Whatever thoughts raced through his head propelled him back into a tie for first with a consecutive birdie and eagle on the next two holes.

After missing a five-foot putt to clinch The Masters on the 18th hole it appeared as if Garcia was destined for second place once more, but an errant shot to begin the playoff hole by Justin Rose put him in a comfortable position. He only needed to sink the ball in two puts from a short distance, which he did with ease.

Relief poured over Garcia’s face as more than a decade of frustration was released in a single moment. Most of us have failed at a task multiple times before succeeding, but not on a national stage with millions of dollars on the line. Ridding past demons is something many athletes must go through to reach the pinnacle of their sport, and it’s especially satisfying to see in this instance.

It was a memorable finish to an event that featured many in the hunt until the late stages. The dramatic eagle Garcia sunk on the par-5 15th was the first from a winner since fellow Spaniard and Garcia’s lifelong hero Jose Olazabal did the same in 1994. Garcia now becomes the third Spaniard to win the event, cementing his legacy as a top tier golfer of his generation.

A well-deserved congratulation to Sergio Garcia for finally overcoming the world’s greatest mental game. Living proof that if you try again and again, sometimes 74 times, all of your work will pay off.

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Viewpoint: Garcia’s Major Testament to Perseverance