The Citizen (KZN)

Sergio rides the wave


- Augusta

Sergio Garcia’s victory at the US Masters on Sunday was received with delight throughout the golf world, but it seems unlikely to lead to a subsequent flood of Major titles for the Spaniard.

That is not to say 37-year-old Garcia will fail to add to his first Major win, but the best players are too evenly matched in the post-Tiger Woods era to realistica­lly expect him to suddenly run up his Major tally in his late 30s.

The top 20 or so players are all eminently capable of winning when in top form. Woods may have been capable of winning with his “B” game, but no-one else is, not even current No 1 Dustin Johnson.

Since Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth combined to win four consecutiv­e Majors at the end of 2014 and the start of 2015, seven players have shared the spoils in the past Seven majors.

Garcia and Masters runner-up Justin Rose were ranked 11th and 14th respective­ly in the world last week, but it was hardly a surprise they ended up separating themselves from the field, especially in the absence of Johnson, who pulled out with a back injury.

A little luck is often required to win, and if Rose’s seven-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole had toppled in instead of grazing the cup, the Englishman probably would be celebratin­g.

Indeed, Garcia’s victory hardly elevated him to the top echelon of favourites in betting for the next Major, the US Open in June.

Betting website Centrebet this week had Dustin Johnson a 7/1 favourite, followed at 8/1 by McIlroy and Jason Day, with Jordan Spieth at 9/1. Garcia was 33/1, similar to his pre-Masters odds.

But he will not care as he celebrates an occasion that he thought might never come. He was not the only one.

Former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley struggled to retain his composure during the live television commentary.

“It was kind of difficult,” McGinley said on Golf Channel on Monday. “To be honest I had a big lump in my throat.

“I was so happy for him I can’t tell you how happy.”

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