desert classic




DUBAI — The magic of Dubai’s famed Majlis course rubbed off on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National for the second time on the bounce as Sergio Garcia emulated Danny Willett to don the iconic Green Jacket by winning The Masters on the back of an Omega Dubai Desert Classic triumph.

As if it was in honour of the Spanish way of playing, Garcia passed a fiendishly tough test with a virtuoso performance in a fitting tribute to his idol – the great Seve Ballesteros – who would have been 60 during the epic Masters weekend.

Garcia also joined Ballesteros on a stellar list of players to have won both the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters that includes fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara and Tiger Woods.

“It’s amazing to do it on his 60th birthday and to join him and Olazabal, my two idols, is something amazing,” beamed a golfer whose stars seem aligned perfectly right now.

The affable Spaniard rang in the New Year with “some exciting news” when he tweeted he would wed Angela Akins, a former Golf Channel reporter, later this year and that set the optimistic wheels spinning.

He set the ball rolling at the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic, becoming the sixth Spaniard to lift the iconic Dallah — and the third youngest Spaniard, aged 37 years and 27 days, to win 12 European Tour titles behind Ballesteros and Olazabal.

‘Made For Greatness’ isn’t just a catchy tagline for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic; it is a collective reflection on the feel-good stories that mark defining moments in the careers of players who have left their indelible imprints on the golf course.

Garcia enjoyed some vintage highs at Augusta, beating Olympic Gold Medallist Justin Rose in a sudden-death play-off for his first Major win after 73 starts. “I still feel like I have a lot of great years in me. And I’m excited for those.”

Signs of good things to come were all too visible when Garcia teed it up at Masters with his caddie Glen Murray wearing the same number (89) on his white overalls as Willett’s caddie, Johnathan Smart, in 2016. Coincidences mean you’re on the right path and Garcia forged his way with the spirit of Seve with him every step of the way.

Good things come to those who wait. And for Garcia it’s been a long, long wait. “But it’s that much sweeter because of that wait. People believed in me, sometimes more than I did, and that mattered a great deal,” Garcia admitted.

The Spaniard will savour the victory for the rest of his life. And for the field at the 2018 Omega Dubai Desert Classic, there will be no shortage of players dreaming that the road to Masters success begins at Emirates Golf Club.


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