Before Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose went head-to-head in the 2017 Masters Tournament, it had been four years since two men battled on the final nine with the green jacket on the line.
In 2013, Adam Scott outdueled Angel Cabrara as the rest of the field played for third place. The difference between that match-up and the Garcia-Rose battle was that Scott and Cabrera were not in same group, as Garcia and Rose were.
Both ended in sudden death, with Scott and Garcia emerging to win their first major championship.
“He played awesome. I played nicely, too,” Garcia said of Rose. “So it was nice to be able to battle that out with him, throughout the whole day.”
"Hopefully, it is a Masters that goes down (in history)," Rose said. "Masters Sunday, it's a special day. Being in the final group is an incredible experience. The crowd, there's a lot of energy out there. I was really interested and surprised that nobody was able to make a run during the front nine. Sergio got off to a great start, and when I birdied 6, 7 and 8, it became pretty apparent that it was me and him down the stretch, really.
Garcia and Rose traded haymakers over the final five holes.
In a sudden-death playoff, Garcia settled the issue on the first hole – No. 18 – sinking a 12-foot birdie for the victory.
It was the 37-year-old Garcia's first win in 74 major championships, four of which he'd been runner-up. Winning in his 19th start in the Masters earned Garcia the record for most starts for a champion at Augusta National before winning. The record had been 15, by Mark O'Meara in 1998.
Garcia and Rose started the day tied for the lead and shot 3-under 69s to finish at 9-under 279. Garcia opened with 71-69-70 while Rose shot 71-72-67 in the first three rounds. The next-closest golfer – 2011 Masters champ Charl Schwartzel – finished three shots back.
Garcia led by three shots after five holes, but Rose birdied Nos. 6, 7 and 8, and both made the turn tied for the lead after 2-under 34s.
After 12 holes, Garcia had fallen two shots behind Rose and saw his drive on No. 13 clip the trees on the left side of the fairway and go left, across the tributary of Rae's Creek. He had to take an unplayable lie and punched out, leaving 89 yards to the pin. He knocked it to 7 feet and made that for par.
Rose, meanwhile, had to settle for a par on No. 13, missing a 6-footer for birdie.
“That little two‑shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament,” Rose said. “I feel like, if he misses at that point, I’m four clear.”
Garcia got within one when he birdied No. 14.
He left No. 15 tied for the lead when he made an electrifying 12-footer for eagle, while Rose made birdie.
"No. 13 was great, 14 was really nice, but 15, everything about it ... the energy I felt mostly on the putt when it dropped was very special,” Garcia said in February. "That was special. Every time I see it I get goosebumps.”
Rose birdied No. 16 to take back the lead but bogeyed No. 17. They both parred No. 18, missing birdie putts.
For Garcia, it was the second time in his career he had a putt on the 72nd hole of a major to win – he missed a putt at the 2007 British Open and lost in a four-hole playoff to Padraig Harrington.
"For me the situation was a little different," Garcia said in February. "Last time I had it at Carnoustie I bogeyed the last. So I had a putt to win. Now I wish I could have seen that differently. But in 2007, I bogeyed the last and so it's like I gave it away kind of thing. Even though I was still in a playoff, I made a bogey and it wasn’t like I had a birdie putt and got a little unlucky. I wish I would have seen it differently. But that’s the way I saw it this time. "
At the 2017 Masters, "I was coming back, making a great comeback after those two bogeys (on No. 10 and 11) and got myself a putt to win."
Garcia said he thought his putt on No. 18 in regulation was good.
"That’s why when you see my reaction it’s not a (moan) it’s a surprised look because I’m thinking I hit a good putt and how does it not go left," he said. "I left the hole thinking I played it great and gave myself a chance, and unfortunately I didn’t make my birdie. But you still have another shot."