Sergio Garcia has been overwhelmed with the reaction from his fellow tour pros after breaking through for his maiden major win at The Masters last month.
The 37-year-old, who defeated Justin Rose in a play-off at Augusta, was inundated with text messages in the aftermath of his triumph and that level of adulation has continued into the week of the Players Championship.
“It’s been amazing,” said Garcia, who tasted victory at TPC Sawgrass in 2008. “But for me, what has meant the most, is to see the reaction from the players towards me and how happy – other than a couple, how happy they all have been – well, it's true! I'm not going to lie.
“That shows me a lot. It shows me how much my fellow players respect me and care about me. It's something that you can't really fake, so that's awesome.”
But it was the reaction he got from one PGA Tour pro in particular – Shawn Stefani – that stood out the most for the Spaniard.
“There’s been so many guys telling me that they were crying when I won and things like that,” he said. “I think it's difficult to pick one in general, I guess, but one that kind of stood out to me was this week on the range.
“On Monday, Shawn Stefani came to me. We have a great relationship but we don't see each other that much – and he's a big man.
“He gave me the biggest hug and I felt like a little branch or something on him. But it was really nice to see not only that but how many that have been really, really happy. Very touching.”
With his Green Jacket, Garcia has had the rather unwanted tag of ‘the best player without a major’ removed. But who does he think is now that player?
“Not me,” he said laughing. “I don't know – it's difficult to say. Obviously Rickie [Fowler] is up there, and Justin Thomas is great, too. Obviously Lee [Westwood], for sure.
“It's difficult to pick one because there are so many, so many great ones. So hopefully they'll all have their chances to get theirs.”