Rose on the wrong side of history in duel with Garcia
AUGUSTA — It was a battle for 19 holes in Sunday’s final pairing at the Masters, but in the end Justin Rose came up just short in his attempt for his first green jacket.
Sergio Garcia bested him on the first playoff hole, the 18th, with a birdie to Rose’s bogey, earning him his first major in the process.
“Yeah, I would say this one probably is one that slipped by, for sure ... But for the most part, I’m not going to sit here and second guess one or two shots. I really stepped up. I felt great. I felt in control. I felt positive. I felt confident,” said Rose. “And you know, barring a great comeback from Sergio, it was mine to cruise to the house. But it’s not always that easy. At the end of the day, you’re going to win – always said, before I won at Merion, you’re going to win majors and you’re going to lose majors, but you’ve got to be willing to lose them.”
Rose had a 7-footer for birdie on 18 in regulation that would have given him the tournament. The putt, which should have moved right to left, was one he said he had practiced but moved differently than he anticipated.
“It was a good putt. It’s a putt I’ve practiced. When you come to Augusta National, that’s the putt you practice,” said Rose. “It’s a contrary little putt, I feel. It’s a subtle break. It’s very speed dependent. I picked my line – I trusted that it would break because in practice, that’s what I’ve been seeing. I’ve been seeing it break, so I trusted the fact it was going to break and it just stayed high.”
Rose said he felt the tournament changed on 13, where he had an opportunity for a birdie that could have put him four shots up on Garcia. Instead, he missed the birdie putt and settled for par. Garcia, meanwhile, scrambled for a par to stay two back.
“That little two-shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament,” said Rose. “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.”
From there, Garcia birdied 14 and eagled 15 to pull into a tie at 9 under. Rose answered with birdies on 15 and 16, though, to take the lead by one before bogeying 17 and eventually heading to the playoff tied at 9 under.
“The fact that we did separate from the field a little bit and then trading blows there, I guess around 15, 16, must have been very exciting for everyone watching. And then just getting into the clubhouse was the challenge, I suppose,” said Rose. “But you know, both of us having putts on 18 there, both slipping by, both just slightly misread the putts. I think I certainly hit a good putt in regulation. I kind of felt that if I could make that one – certainly his putt got very difficult. And then when I missed my putt, I feared for the worst. And then, you know, got a second shot at it in the playoff. But unfortunately missed the fairway to the right, which was a no-go.”
Added Garcia, “Yeah, I think at the end of the day that we were both trying to win, we’re all trying to win. But at the end of the day we’re all people. And we have to represent our game the way we should. We’re good friends. So we were very respectful to one another. We were cheering each other on. And we wanted to beat the other guy, not that guy to lose it.”
Rose added that while this loss may hurt for a little, he hasn’t lost sight of what he was able to do this week and can accomplish down the road both this season and in upcoming years.
“It’s going to sting for sure. But you know, I really feel like this is a tournament that I can still go on to win. I’d like to win three or four green jackets, but one would be enough, you know. I just want to win here,” said Rose. “So I have plenty more looks, and I feel good about it happening. So I look forward – you know, for me, golf is about April to September. That’s where the big tournaments are. That’s where the tournaments that change your career are. So this is the first one of four. I feel motivated for the summer, and I will be moving on and setting goals very quickly after this.”