He finally did it. He finally shed the tag “best player not to have won a major.” He finally won one of golf’s big four at the 74th attempt.
Sergio Garcia has been through the mill, but his playoff triumph over Justin Rose to clinch the Masters on Sunday released a torrent of relief and 18 years of pent-up angst.
‘What an awesome new jacket … don’t you think?” the 37-year-old Spaniard tweeted following a momentous victory at Augusta National Golf Club.
He wasn’t the only one celebrating — the wider sporting world is delighted the kid they used to call “El Nino” has finally come of age.
Garcia’s vanquished opponent was quick to offer his congratulations.
“Congrats @TheSergioGarcia Incredible battle out there” Rose tweeted.
The King of Augusta himself, six-time champion Jack Nicklaus, wrote: “Congratulations to Sergio Garcia on his first Masters victory and first major!” before linking to a meaty tome lauding Garcia’s achievement.
Fellow Spaniard, winner of 14 grand slam tennis titles and sometime golf partner, Rafael Nadal was gripped by the drama at Augusta, saying: “Very exciting after so many years struggling so much! Congratulations! What a joy!”
Garcia is a huge Real Madrid soccer fan, and club legend Luis Figo was on hand to help celebrate in Augusta.
Real’s Gareth Bale is also a good friend of Garcia.
Sergio’s win came on what would have been the 60th birthday of Spanish golf great Seve Ballesteros. He saluted his childhood hero afterwards, and the Seve Ballesteros Foundation suggested the legend would be watching.
A host of major champions, including the man who gave Garcia the green jacket, Danny Willett, chipped in.
“Congrats El Nino Vamos!!!!” the Englishman tweeted while Michelle Wie, who also had to wait a long time before clinching her first major title in 2014, was delighted for Garcia.
“Seriously just teared up watching @TheSergioGarcia make that putt on 18!!! YASSSSSSSSSS” Wie said.
Garcia has played in eight Ryder Cups and is something of a talisman for Europe. Some past and present captains paid tribute.
Stars from other sports were watching, too.
There were plenty of messages from his golf buddies …
… and pop stars and media celebrities.