The Arnold Palmer of Europe was Seve Ballesteros, who was very, very good when he hit his drives straight and even better when they went crooked. In 1980, three months after Sergio García was born, Ballesteros won the first of his two Masters titles.
Like generations of American players who loved Palmer, García grew up wanting to be like the swashbuckling Ballesteros, whose influence on García’s golf and his life was immense. Nearly six years after Ballesteros died of brain cancer, on what would have been his 60th birthday, García conquered Justin Rose, Augusta National Golf Club and his demons — not necessarily in that order — to win the 81st Masters.
It was García’s first major title in his 74th start, and perhaps fittingly, he had to go an extra hole to secure it after missing a seven-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole that would have ended the tournament in regulation. When his ball steered clear of the hole, it might have conjured memories of the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie, where García also had a putt for victory at the 72nd hole, missed it and then lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington.
Read it all.