After Further Review: McIlroy Rounding Into Form

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff


Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough


Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

>Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour


Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon


Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side


Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times


Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

WOW!!@TheSergioGarcia makes an ACE at the iconic 17th hole at @TPCSawgrass!#QuickHits

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 11, 2017

Growing family


Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception


Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy


Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'


Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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