Even when Sergio Garcia followed an outrageous par save with an eagle on the par fives as he battled his demons and the final nine at the Masters, my instincts refused to match my hopes.

Me of little faith, you betcha. Sitting on my couch 13,000km away from the Augusta action, anxiety began to stalk my viewing as the final pairing of Garcia and Justin Rose headed for home. At least it was a duel between these two with Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler going in the wrong direction.

Every year the same advice whistles through the Georgia pines and observations from those with extensive playing and watching experience; the Masters does not start until the back nine.

Right oh, Sergio, what have you got? Bogey, bogey. Done and Dustined like the pre-tournament favourite who slipped down the stairs of his rented home the day before and withdrew before he hit a shot. God knows what it was like inside Garcia's head but he was drifting out of my reckoning.


In the technical discussions which permeate the golfing world, few swing the club better than the Spaniard with his backswing lag generating tremendous power and great accuracy. But some gremlins joined that department, too, and he hit his drive left at the 13th and had to take a penalty drop.

Somehow Garcia saved par from the pine-needles and intrusive carping from television-land. It was a miraculous save but he was still two adrift until a birdie at the next then an eagle brought him back into Rose's eyeline. All square, three holes to go, maybe this was Garcia's year and a chance to emulate countrymen Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Then my doubts flooded back. Rose hit it to 12 feet and found the bottom of the 16th cup, while Garcia hit his tee shot even closer but was left with a tough left-to-right slider, one which is never a favourite for right handers and definitely not for someone with Garcia's putting history.

He's running with the saw grip now and while that has brought better results in his statistics' column, putting still looks like a distant relative for the 37-year-old. A hesitant fanned strike and the ball never even glanced at the cup. Rose made an untidy bogey on the next so it was all square up the last with Rose in close and Garcia even closer.

The Englishman breathed past the cup before Garcia misread his tentative attempt to overcome four runners-up finishes in the majors as the spectators' anguish went up another notch and the internet dispatches changed direction.

Same hole half an hour later and with two putts from 15 feet for the title, Garcia canned it and finally had his reward in a tournament which has a unique ability to create compelling drama every April.