JOE BIDDLE: Sergio earned Masters jacket

Sergio Garcia, of Spain, reacts after making his birdie putt on the 18th green to win the Masters golf tournament after a playoff Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

I can’t prove anything, but I strongly believe after seeing this week’s Masters, that the club members hire the cream of the crop Hollywood directors to deliver unbelievable drama at Augusta National every year.

If so, they produced yet another memorable Masters Sunday. It couldn’t be, but it just happened to be the late countryman of Sergio Garcia’s birthday. Somewhere Seve Ballesteros is celebrating his 60th birthday on the very day that Garcia won his first major after 73 majors had passed over him.

“It’s been such a long time coming,’’ Garcia understated.

“When I came here as an amateur in (’99), I felt like the course was going to give me at least one major,’’ he added.

It was another classic Masters Sunday. As usual the tournament didn’t start until the back nine on the Sabbath.

It looked at one point that Garcia would play an all too familiar role of bridesmaid on No. 13

After the final pairing of Garcia and Englishman Justin Rose saw other competitors drop down the leader board, it turned into a match play duel between Garcia and Rose. They went head to head and even tacked on a 73rd hole for added entertainment.

It looked as if he was going to bogey No. 13 and drop behind Rose.
“I knew I and to make a par there. I knew I had to make that putt to stay with (Justin). That putt kind of got me more confident,’’ Garcia said.

Both Rose and Garcia shot 69 on Sunday. It was a fireworks show on almost every hole. Garcia missed a makeable putt on No. 18 that would have won the match in regulation.

But they played No. 18 once more and this time, Garcia, who has had a habit of missing putts when the pressure is on during other championships, finally had a calmness invade his body on this particular Palm Sunday.

The monkey is off his back.

“I felt a calmness today, even after making a couple of bogeys and still felt confident,’’ Garcia said in the Butler Cabin where they put the green jacket on him.

On the playoff hole, Rose’s tee shot went into the woods, but somehow his ball shot out into the pine straw. It gave him a chance to punch out in the fairway. His third shot was a makeable putt, but Rose missed it and tapped in for a bogey.

Garcia put his tee shot in the fairway and his approach shot left him two putts for the win. He didn’t need another putt. When he drained his first putt, the patrons circling the 18th green stood and gave heavy acknowledgeable appreciation for Garcia’s victory.

Golf fans can only hope that this is not the last time of seeing Sergio Garcia’s smiling face in the winner’s circle.

Joe Biddle is a Sports Columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Reach him at