All that changed in dramatic fashion on Sunday when he came out on top in a thrilling final-round duel with Justin Rose, a birdie on the first play-off hole making Garcia the third Spanish victor of the Masters - and on what would have been the 60th birthday of two-time champion Seve Ballesteros for good measure.
"It's been such a long time coming", Garcia said after his playoff victory over Justin Rose.
"The positive thing is I still feel I have so much room for improvement".
And it was Jose Maria Olazabal, who won the Masters in 1994 and 1999, who sent him a text on the eve of the Masters telling Garcia to believe and "to not let things get to me like I've done in the past".
"Should be a great match-up in the last group", Garcia said. "To do it on his 60th birthday, it's something incredible".
He missed this one, too, and headed into a playoff against Rose, only this time he didn't lose hope.
"He deserves it. He's had his fair share of heartbreak". Sergio and Justin played great golf.
Sergio Garcia, of Spain, kisses his trophy at the green jacket ceremony after the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Augusta, Ga.
Spieth, who had birdies on three of his last four holes, was just happy to finish under par.
Rose missed and Garcia calmly rolled in a 12-foot putt for the win, breaking down in tears and pounding the green with his right fist as the crowd chanted his name.
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"We've been having a blast this week", Fowler said.
In the hole: Until Matt Kuchar's hole-in-one on 16, Russell Henley might have had the shot of the tournament on the fifth hole. "I thought I had it on 18 (in regulation)". "I hit it where I wanted". "You deserve it all amigo", from second-ranked Rory McIlroy and "Congrats, well earned", from 14-time major victor Tiger Woods.
Tied going to the back nine, Garcia immediately fell two shots behind with wild shots into the pine straw bed under the trees. He took an unplayable lie penalty, then punched into the fairway.
Rose could only manage a bogey, meaning Garcia's superb birdie putt was enough to secure a memorable victory at Augusta. And what I needed to do.
"I knew what I was capable of doing, and I believed that I could do it", he said.
He had a shot, hitting his approach to about 14 feet.
"I have plenty more looks and I feel good about it happening".
"I would say this one probably is one that slipped by, for sure", the 36-year-old Englishman said, quickly adding: "I can't pick holes in my performance". "So be it that I end up shooting one of my worst rounds". Hoffman, though, rallied back after a mistake that might've unraveled many with two steady, closing pars to remain two off the lead.
He salvaged par from a certain bogey on the 13th that kept him in the game.
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel birdied the 18th for a 68 to finish third.
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