Sergio Garcia proves you can do both... Win the Masters and be football club Presidente!
- Credit: AP
It’s not often I’ll sit up until 1am watching sport, knowing I have to go to work the same day, writes MIKE BACON.
But come on, if you are a golf fan, or just a fan of dramatic sporting moments, then staying up to catch Sergio Garcia beat Justin Rose in the Masters was worth red eyes the next morning.
I even felt myself well up a bit when Garcia’s putt went in on the 18th – I was so pleased for him.
Yet, I’m English and like Rose a great deal, but for some reason, I desperately wanted Garcia to win!
Maybe it’s because Rose has already won a Major and for Garcia it was his 74th attempt at achieving such a feat.
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Maybe it’s because Garcia comes from a town, Borriol, in the province of Castellon in Spain, very close to where I and my family spend much of our summers.
Maybe it’s because, as a keen football man, I love the fact Garcia is president and chairman of his local club, CF Borriol http://www.cfborriol.es/
Or maybe it’s just because I think he’s great - and always have done.
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My appreciation of Garcia goes back to the Ryder Cup, rather than any individual glories he may have achieved.
I’m a great believer that great characters are worth as much in a team as great players.
Garcia could be said to be both, but it’s his fiery, fist-pumping Spanish blood that does it for me, just as much as his cracking drives and deft short game.
Yet he looked set to always be the bridesmaid, never the bride, and never win a golf Major.
Sport is funny like that.
You can be at the top of your game for years and never win a ‘big one’, whether it’s a tennis Grand Slam or a golf Major.
Phil Mickelson was in his mid-30s before he won his first Major – the Masters – while Tiger Woods was just 21 when he won his first Major – again at Augusta.
Some footballers never win a League Championship despite being at the top in their profession for years (Steven Gerrard) – it’s just how sport can get you.
But back to Garcia. I’m a sucker for personality in sport. Give me Ronnie O’Sullivan over well, anyone in snooker! Give me Nick Kyrgios everyday of the week over Roger Federer,
Yes, I know Federer walks on water and all that. But I want a bit of passion and dare I say, controversy, just as much as I want to be stunned into silence by the brilliance of the sportsman or woman in question.
Garcia has that about him. You never quite know how he is going to react if things go wrong – or right.
Who remembers his little ‘jig’ on the green after he had helped Europe to win the Ryder Cup, at Oakland Hills in 2004?
He’s been through some dark days too. But now it seems a new love in his life (Angela Akins) has helped transform Garcia’s mood.
“Every little thing that adds up is always good,” he said.
“When things are lined up nicely in your life outside of the game, your mind is calmer, you’re happier and those things are always good.”
The fact he also won his first Major on what would have been his mentor Seve Ballesteros’ 60th birthday makes you wonder if there really is more to this world than any of us know... Don’t worry I won’t get too deep.
But more’s the point, it shows that in sport especially, the cream, eventually, always rises to the top, regardless of the disappointments and heartaches along the way.
Indeed Andy Murray can vouch for that... And so now can Sergio Garcia.
I expect the Spaniard to win many more Majors in the future.
PS: Note to self: When in Spain next time, I must go and watch CF Borriol play!