Sergio Garcia finally lifted the major monkey from his back on Sunday, when he won the US Masters in a play-off over Justin Rose.
Now, at the age of 37, he must be looking at the next eight years as an opportunity to really leave his mark on the game. It wasn’t too long ago when the Spaniard wrote off his chances of ever winning one of golf’s biggest prizes, suggesting that it was maybe not his destiny, but one week in Augusta Georgia has emphatically changed that.
A player of Garcia’s ilk should have a plethora of major titles to his name already, that goes without question. Aside from his Masters victory, he has racked up 12 top-five finishes in Major Championships, including four runner-ups. He has often been accused of choking when things have become heated on the back-nine of a major, and fairly so, but that has all changed now.
The 31-time winner must now re-evaluate his goals over the next decade, if he wants to go down in history as one of the game’s true greats. Harry Vardon has won the most major championships out of any European golfer (7), so can Sergio eclipse that feat? The closest Spaniard to completing that feat was Seve Ballesteros, who gained 5 major championships in his lifetime.
On the face of it, it seems a daunting task. With six majors needed just to tie the six-time British Open champion, he certainly has his work cut-out. It is not outside the realms of possibility, however.
Garcia is one of the finest drivers of the ball in the game. This season, he has averaged 304.2 yards off the tee, leaving him in 19th position on the list. He has hit 67.56 per cent of all fairways, which leaves him 26th in the standings. That all equals out to him leading the total driving category (a combination of distance and accuracy). When those stats are combined with his total of 73.5 per cent of greens hit in regulation, it is no surprise that he finally broke his duck.
Next up on the agenda is the U.S. Open at Erin Hills – a golf course that can be stretched up to 7,800 yards, where long, straight drives will be a prerequisite for the eventual champion. You wouldn’t bet against Sergio right now, would you?
If the mercurial Spaniard can find a way of putting soundly, on a more consistent basis, the golfing word will be his oyster. He now knows for a fact that he has the ability to win one, and with the improved mental perspective he will have heading into each and every major, he surely has every chance of becoming a prolific major winner.
There would not be too many people averse to that notion.