AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – Why not now for Sergio García?
Why not after 73 major championships without a victory can’t this be the one García wins?
Sunday would have been the 60th birthday of Seve Ballesteros and what better way for the 37-year old Spaniard to honor Spain’s greatest player?
Why not believe that things happen for a reason, like that long second shot García hit into the 13th green Saturday, the one that somehow stayed on a steep bank rather than bouncing into the creek, saving at least one stroke and probably two?
There are, of course, plenty of reasons why not, starting with Justin Rose, who shares the 54-hole Masters lead with García. There’s Rickie Fowler one behind and Jordan Spieth two behind with Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman.
And it’s Sunday at Augusta with García trying to do what he has not yet been able to do. But he says he has worked to change his attitude and he’s confident in his game.
This could be his moment.
“It was fun to play well again, to go through a Saturday at The Masters with a chance at winning, and to be up there going into tomorrow,” García said after shooting 70 on Saturday.
“Having a chance to win a tournament is always exciting. Having a chance of winning a major and winning here at Augusta, it’s extra exciting.
“So you do have to calm yourself down, not get ahead of yourself. Take some nice, deep breaths. And then just try to cope with whatever comes your way the best way possible. I think that at the end of the day, that’s really the only thing you can do.”
After making bogeys at Nos. 7 and 9 Saturday, García played the second nine cleanly. He birdied the two par-5s and made a 7-foot par putt on the 18th green that earned a solid fist pump.
“Obviously making it, it’s amazing, and that’s what I was trying to do and I’m glad that I was able to do it,” García said. “But it’s not like if I miss, I go into tomorrow thinking, ‘Oh, I lost it already because I missed that putt on 18. No, I don’t think it’s going to come down just to one little putt.”
Ballesteros won two Masters titles as did fellow Spaniard José María Olazábal. García, however, has had a more tempestuous relationship with Augusta National.
That could change Sunday.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but it would mean – I don’t even know how much it would mean to be able to join both of my idols as a Masters winner. It would be nice to have a chance and hopefully do it,” García said.
“I had José send me – obviously Seve couldn’t do it – but José sent me a beautiful message on Wednesday night, and he has a good touch when it comes down to those things. It really meant a lot.”