Sergio Garcia is a major champion, and that reality is still reverberating through the golf and sporting world the day after the 2017 Masters.
The Spaniard, who first contended in a major as a 19-year-old coming up just short against Tiger Woods at Medinah in the 1999 PGA Championship, beat Justin Rose with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff to earn a green jacket at the age of 37. In winning, not only did Garcia get off the schneid, shedding the oft-applied title of being the “best player never to have won a major,” but he also set some records in doing it.
Garcia won the Masters in his 19th appearance, setting a Masters record for the highest number of appearances before breaking through for a first Masters win. That record previously belonged to Mark O’Meara, who won the Masters in 1998 in his 15th appearance. (He also went on to win the British Open later that year at Birkdale, where the Open is again this year.)
More broadly, Garcia won his first major in his 74th major appearance. That sets the mark for the longest overall wait, in terms of appearances, to win a first major title. Tom Kite previously held that mark, winning the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, what turned out to be his only major, in his 73rd career major appearance.
Jay Haas remains the player with the most major appearances without a win, with 87 major starts. Lee Westwood has the most starts without a win among active major players with 76 appearances.