Garcia delighted to prove mental strength with Augusta triumph


Sergio Garcia says the most pleasing aspect of his dramatic Masters victory was the way he demonstrated his mental fortitude to win the green jacket.

The Spaniard ended his long wait for major glory by defeating Justin Rose in a play-off following a thrilling back-and-forth battle during the final round.

Garcia had long been golf's perennial nearly man, with pundits and fans alike questioning whether he had the required mental attributes to win a major.

Those questions seemed legitimate during a familiar mid-round blip that saw him make bogeys at 10 and 11 before scrambling for a brilliant par save at 13, but Garcia rebounded strongly to claim his moment of glory.

And the 37-year-old, whose victory fell on the day that would have marked his compatriot and idol Seve Ballesteros' 60th birthday, was elated to answer the doubters.

"Definitely [the most pleasing aspect] was the demonstration of my character, and my mentality," he said.

"You know, how positive I stayed even when things weren't going that well on 10 and 11. Even on 13, I didn't hit that bad a drive.

"I've been hitting that drive every day like a high cut. This drive was probably going three yards left of the ones I've hit the other three days, and unfortunately it hit the tree and went in the bush.

"Even that, you know, in the past, I would have started going, you know, at my caddie, and oh, you know, why doesn't it go through and whatever.

"But I was like, well, if that's what is supposed to happen, let it happen. Let's try to make a great five here and see if we can put a hell of a finish to have a chance.

"And if not, we'll shake Justin's hand and congratulate him for winning.

"So I think that that I've been doing very well throughout the whole week, and it's something I need to keep improving and keep getting better at it.

"I think the problem is, because where my head was at sometimes, I did think about, am I ever going to win one.

"I've had so many good chances and either I lost them or someone has done something extraordinary to beat me. So it did cross my mind.

"But lately, you know, I've been getting some good help and I've been thinking a little bit different, a little bit more positive and kind of accepting, too, that if it for whatever reason it didn't happen, my life is still going to go on. It's not going to be a disaster. But it's happened."

Garcia insists that he did not see the title of being one of the best never to have won a major as a negative.

"The way I tried to look at it was in a positive way. Obviously I like where I stand now better," he added.  

"But it's always nice to be recognised or seen as the best player to not have won a major, because at least best player, there's a good thing there. So that's the way I looked at it.

"I don't have to answer that anymore. Now I'll have to answer, I don't know if I'll be the best player to have only won one major, but I can live with that."