Spanish golf is a success story in Augusta. A chronology of green jackets, six in total, that starts with Seve Ballesteros, continues with Txema Olazábal and Sergio García and ends with Jon Rahm, the fourth winner of the sport’s most coveted garment. Below is a review of the great successes of national golf in the most iconic major:
1980: Seve’s first
In its first 43 editions, the Masters had only American champions and one South African, Gary Player. It was Looks which opened the European season at the tournament. Nothing would ever be the same again. Until 1993, six more green coats would fall on the Old Continent: another one by him in 1983, two by Nick Faldo (89 and 90, one of the three he repeated), two by Langer (85 and 93), one by Woosnam (91) and one of Lyle (88). Seve, who arrived with a bad back and was underestimated by the American press despite being the defending British Open champion, started at 66 and didn’t play a round over par. He took four shots ahead of a pair made up of American Gibby Gilbert and Australian Jack Newton. It was the last edition played with bermuda and ryegrass greens, which were changed to bentgrass in 1981.
1983: confirmation of genius
If his first green jacket was called into question, if he was lucky, if the wide streets of Augusta benefited him, all discussion was buried with his second triumph, which turns 40 this Tuesday, in the last edition that ended the a Monday due to bad weather. On a Saturday that arnold palmer, in the year in which he made the cut for the last time in his career, defined as “the worst” that he lived in Augusta, Seve gave a -2 and was in second place. On Sunday he was already one and on Monday, with a card of 69, he won with four strokes over the Americans Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite. And that Amen Corner smothered him, with a bogey at 12 and an exit at 13 that closed too tight and went into the trees. He hit a miracle 5 there and then doubled up five pair in a row. “It was like he was driving a Ferrari and the other Chevrolets,” Kite summed up his triumph.
1994: Olazabal takes over
If the 1990s were an extension of the golden 1980s for European golf, it was largely due to Txema. His first green jacket suffered. With +2 on the first day, he only started to smell like a champion at the end of Saturday, when he was already second with cards of 67 and 69 strokes. A trip that cost him a boogeyman on Sunday 17th almost ruined everything. If it weren’t for the fact that Tom Lehman lost to birdie on that very hole, in fact, this paragraph might not exist. But the American missed the last one and José Mari crossed out a pair of fine stylist to -9. Two less blows to Lehman and one more chapter to the Spanish fairy tale in Augusta. Before that last dramatic day, in his dressing room closet, he had read a note left there by his good friend Seve: “Keep calm. Let your game speak for you. You have the golf to win this », he prayed.
1999: the rebirth of Txema
The second green jacket of the Hondarribia man was lucky to be reborn as a great champion. After his first win, he spent 18 months sidelined with a foot injury that left him thinking he might never walk normally again. “Honestly, I thought my career was over,” he said. Nothing is further from reality. Sunday, April 11, 1999, would end up being one of the most important days of his career, the one that definitely placed him at the table of the big names in golf. This time the harangue came from Gary Player. “Look at me, look at me. You’re strong as an ox. You have to believe. You’ve got the game. You can win this again,” he blurted out after hearing him lament about his issues with the rider in the locker room. . And Olazabal believed. He climbed into first place on Friday with a sensational 66 and never came out again with a 73 on Saturday. With Davis Love III and Greg Norman away, with whom the policeman was beaten in the outcome, this time there were no scares. I can enjoy the walk to the 18th green, feel the pre-conductor coronation atmosphere. “I enjoyed every step because this time I was aware of the situation,” he said.
2017: finally Sergio
If he hadn’t won Justin Rose a green jacket worth as much as the rest of his palms in a dramatic playoff, Sergio Garcia might have become a prominent member of the club of major unmajored golfers. But the Englishman’s move on the first hole of the playoff, after tying at -9, found the woods and Sergio converted the first of the two putts he had to win. The first most expensive major in history: on the 74th attempt, more than anyone before it, and after 22 top 10s. In a beautiful gesture, Olazábal wanted to repeat with the castellan what Seve had with him in 1994. “I don’t share my closet (in the Augusta Champions locker room) at the moment and wouldn’t mind sharing it with you,” he wrote. In 2018 we had to put one on Sergio, whose eldest daughter is named Azalea after the 13th hole in Augusta.