You’ve got to hand it to Sergio Garcia. He just keeps coming back for more.
The Spaniard is out in the last group at Augusta National on Sunday afternoon as joint leader alongside Justin Rose and has one job to do: join Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros as a Masters champion.
Tomorrow is of particular significance, as it would have been the 60th birthday of the late Ballesteros, who won two Masters titles.
Talking of that link with Seve, Garcia was coy, but honest,
“Seve and Jose (Maria Olazabal) were my big idols growing up,” he said. “It means a lot. I don’t want to get ahead of myself… but I don’t even know how much it would mean to join both of them as a Masters winner. But it would be nice to have a chance to do it.”
Garcia revealed that Olazabal sent him a message on the Wednesday night, which he said meant a lot to him.
“He has a good touch when it comes to those things,” he said of Olazabal.
The 37-year-old, who has had 28 major top-tens in his career, looked to be wobbling at the end of his front nine after bogeying the ninth, where he missed a short putt. But, as he said earlier in the week, he has perhaps turned a corner by managing to put his ‘frustrations’ to the side. He did just that and regrouped, covering the back nine in 34 shots to sign for a two-under 70 and a share of the lead.
“My mentality has changed a little bit, particularly this week,” he said. “I’ve had some good breaks.”
That was a reference to the fortune that favoured him on 13, when his ball stayed above ground on the bank instead of finding the water, and he managed to make birdie.
“I don’t feel like I hit a bad shot (on 13). I was hitting plenty of club but it just came out soft. Fortunately for me, that bank seems to be a tiny bit longer this year. It gives you the possibly of getting a break like that.”
Having had his share of major heartbreak through the years, Garcia isn’t about let any past failures mess with his head.
“There’s nothing wrong with Augusta,” he said. “The main thing that has improved is how I’m looking at it. It’s the kind of place that if you’re trying to fight against it it’s going to beat you down. You’ve got to roll with it.
“Right now, I’m pretty calm, but excited. I’m going to go out and try and do well again and give myself a chance on the last six holes.
“I need to keep doing the things I’ve been doing all week and believe that I can do it.”
On playing with Rose, Garcia said it would be fun but, at the end of the day, he had a job to do.
“It’s going to be hard but fun with Justin. He’s a good friend of mine and it’s a great match-up in the last group. I guess when you play with someone you get along, it might help. But you still have to hit the shots yourself.”