Garcia eyes British Open after "better late than never" Masters win

By Rik Sharma
Sergio Garcia of Spain celebrates winning the Masters with a putt on the 18th green during a playoff against Justin Rose of England in the final round of the 2017 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S. April 9, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Rik Sharma

MADRID (Reuters) - After burying the majors demon that had haunted his golfing career for nearly 20 years at the U.S. Masters, Sergio Garcia is now setting his sights on the British Open at Southport in July.

After four runner-up finishes at majors, the Spaniard ended close to two decades of heartbreak on Sunday at Augusta, beating England’s Justin Rose in a playoff.

"It's better late than never," Garcia joked in an interview with Radio Marca. "I have to continue on the same path. I hope this is not the last."

"The Masters is like the Champions League (Europe’s biggest football club competition), but the British Open is like the Champions’ Champions League."

Garcia played in 74 majors before finally winning one.

Triumph finally came after his 12-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole on Augusta's par-four 18th.

"I hit it where I wanted to," he said. "I didn't ask my caddie's opinion because the putt fell towards the left.

"In the five previous holes I had struck the ball very well. I knew there was the possibility of making a birdie in the playoff."

Garcia’s victory came on what would have been the 60th birthday of his late hero Severiano Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in 2011. Another idol, Jose Maria Olazabal, also won at Augusta.

"I dedicated the victory to Severiano. I was able to win in the same place that my two idols had done."

"Olazabal sent me a very nice message in which he told me that he loved me and that I should have a lot of confidence in myself."

(Editing by Richard Lough)