Scanning the coverage of Sergio Garcia's 2017 Masters win, I noticed a fair number of stories looking ahead to the next major, wondering who is the next great player without a major and other random stories designed to generate clicks.
While The Players and BMW Championship will offer intrigue this year with renovated holes and so many players looking to move on from Masters disappoint, we have the bleak Erin Hills experience looming as the opposite of last week's joyful intrigue. So why rush?
A day later, the magnitude of Sergio's playoff win may not have sunk in.
--He finally has his first major after a historic number of opportunities.
--His play on the two back nine par-5s will join the highlight reels of best Masters moments.
--A lifelong drawer of the ball, Garcia won hitting a fade on a course that some feel strongly favors a right-to-left shot shape.
No matter how you feel about his behavior and attitude at times, golf fans should find it hard to ignore his incredible consistency, persistence even when he clearly mailed in some moments, and, in the last year, his maturation. (It is no coincidence this has happened since Angela Akins came into his life.)
In his USA Today lede, Steve DiMeglio referenced another chapter was looming in the "Shakespearean tragedy" that is Garcia's golf career.
Doug Ferguson's lede focused on the staggering numbers, especially as we stare down an upcoming era of careers shortened by money.
Eighteen years and 71 majors later, more tears for Sergio Garcia.
This time, they were accompanied by a smile.
Bill Fields summed up for Masters.com why we might even be in shock still that Sergio Garcia won a major.
People have been expecting Garcia to win a major ever since he burst onto the scene as a skinny 19-year-old and finished second to Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship, playing with joy and flair and the talent that said someday soon.
The skills never went away, because Garcia has been one of the purest ball-strikers of his generation, the primary reason he had 22 combined victories on the European Tour and PGA Tour prior to the 81st Masters. His putting can go hot or cold, but his attitude has been the anchor holding him back from more.
Randall Mell at GolfChannel.com took it a step further.
Sergio Garcia pulled off one of the great upsets of the modern era Sunday at the Masters.
Yes, few folks outside Garcia’s inner circle believed he could actually win a major championship, much less a green jacket, with such a formidable history of painful losses stacked against him, but the nature of this upset was even more stunning than that.
Over four hours at Augusta National, Garcia won the hearts and minds of American golf fans.
That’s your monumental upset.
Jaime Diaz of Golf World summarizes the backlash toward Garcia that may have prolonged his major chase.
In retrospect, Garcia suffered the backlash that often confronts sports prodigies. Used to both overwhelming their competition with talent and generally getting their way, being thrown in with older peers with more competitive grit and more polished skills can be jarring, especially when the expectations that were thrust upon them so early are, if anything, adjusted up. In Garcia’s case, he ran smack into the prime of Woods, a figure who, because he showed no mercy competitively, was especially chilly to potential rivals, and got into Garcia’s head. For the first eight years of Garcia’s career, the harder he tried to beat Woods, the more convincingly and dishearteningly he lost.
About that shot on 15 and the ensuing putt, it's the moment patrons on sight will forever remember and one of the best shots/putts/roars we've seen in years.
ESPN.com's Kevin Van Valkenburg on that moment and "one of the great finishing duels in Masters history."
How will you remember the 2017 tournament? I'll remember it, perhaps strangely, for the unplayable lie Garcia took in the azaleas at No. 13, and then the two perfect shots he hit to give himself an 8-foot par putt that he somehow made.
"I feel like if he misses at that point, I make, I'm four clear and I've got my eye on Thomas Pieters and Matt Kuchar instead," Rose said.
Without that moment of steely determination, which oddly came at the same time Rose began to spray his irons and drives like Sunday Sergio of old, we might never have the biggest shot of the tournament, Garcia's second shot into 15, which kissed the flagstick and came to rest in a spot where Garcia had a makeable eagle putt. Even Garcia conceded as much.
So let's wait a few days to look forward and focus on the recent past just a little bit longer...