Sergio Garcia looked up to the skies. It was subtle, but it was clear who he was thinking of.

He had just hit the shot of his life at the 15th hole on Sunday at the Masters. It may not have been the shot that actually won him the green jacket, but it set him up for an eagle to move level with playing partner Justin Rose at the top of the leaderboard and, ultimately, make his charge to victory.

Who was he thinking of? His late compatriot and idol Seve Ballesteros. The legendary Seve Ballesteros. Today would've been his 60th birthday. He won the Masters in 1980 and 1983, something Garcia had wanted to do for so long.

He stood at the top of the hill at the 15th hole after hitting a perfect drive. He looked down the rest of the fairway, over the famous pond in front of the green and calculated. 192 yards. 8-iron. The fourth-longest drought in major history could be broken with something special. What he did will go alongside Larry Mize at the 11th in 1987, Tiger Woods at the 16th in 2005 and Phil Mickelson from the pine straw at the 13th in 2010 in Masters folklore.

It came off the club and he knew. It drew the "oohs" and "aahs" and "it's short" sounds from the patrons that are familiar at the famous par-5 at Augusta National. But Garcia knew. It was perfect. It landed barely a metre in front of the pin that lingered just on the front of the green. Thankfully, it didn't ricochet back towards the water, but rather 14 feet left of the hole. He snuck it in the side door and, in an instant was level with Rose.

"I probably hit one of the best 8 irons I've ever hit," he said of that shot. "We (he and caddy Glen Murray) didn't know if it was in the hole or hit the flag or what had happened. Then I hit one of the best putts I hit all week, other than the one to win the playoff," Garcia added in his interview in Butler Cabin where he was presented with the green jacket.

While Rose responded with a superb birdie at the par-3 16th, it felt like Garcia's time. After some tense moments to close out the regulation 72 holes, the pair finished level at nine-under par and headed back to the 18th tee for a playoff. A playoff that would supply the best moment of Garcia's career to date.

Garcia had, until today, the fourth-longest major championship streak without winning. 73 times he had been to one of the four biggest tournaments in golf and had never been able to break through. On more than a few occasions, he had given himself the opportunity, only to throw it away in sensational fashion. This time was different, as it was Rose who faltered off the tee in the pressure moment. He went into the trees and had to punch out onto the fairway, while the Spaniard belied his history in big moments and crushed one down the right side of the short grass. Rose was just ahead of Garcia, but for two shots. It was time for Garcia to do it for Seve, to do it for Spain but, ultimately do it for himself. To erase years of pain. He did just that.

From 147 yards, he went straight over the pin and left himself 12 feet. He could afford two putts to join Ballesteros and his other hero José María Olazábal.

He only needed one.