As much as congratulations have poured in for Sergio Garcia, who won a sudden-death playoff on Sunday to be crowned 81st Masters champion… so too has praise poured in for South African-born, English player Justin Rose who showed true sportsmanship in the face of defeat. (Watch below.)
Sky TV presenter Jacquie Beltrao said: “Anyone watching especially kids –
@JustinRose99 – sporting gentleman – this is how you do it – win or lose.”
Thirty-six year old Justin was born in Joburg to English parents. The family moved back to the UK when he was five, and today he’s based in Orlando, Florida.
BBC Sport said Justin was “gracious” in his loss. During an interview with the BBC, Justin said he is “really happy” for his friend Garcia.
The two sportsmen embraced each other after Garcia’s final winning putt (watch below). Sergio said afterwards: “We are great friends who wanted to beat the other guy, not want the other guy to lose.”
It was a big win for the Spanish golfer – his first major golf title after 73 failed attempts… and it came on what would have been the 60th birthday of his hero, the late Seve Ballesteros who was himself a two-time Masters champion.
Both Sergio and Justin had shot 3-under-par 69s to finish regulation tied at 9-under-par at Augusta National Golf Club. Both had the potential with short birdie putts at the final hole to win outright, but both missed.
Augusta’s official website described the action: “The playoff began on the 18th hole. Rose went first, and pushed his tee shot right. It wound up in the pine straw, and he had to pitch out since his second shot to the green was blocked by trees. Garcia safely hit the green, and Rose hit his third shot on. Putting first, Rose missed his par putt and tapped in for bogey. Garcia had two putts to win outright, and he made the birdie putt for the victory.”
It had been an action packed final day with both tied at the start, and battling it out hole for hole.
After the match, Justin tweeted: “Congrats @TheSergioGarcia Incredible battle out there. Sport in the moment can be tough. But it’s just sport. Hope you guys enjoyed it.”
South African professional golfer – and 2011 Masters winner – Charl Schwartzel came third (see below). He birdied the 18th and finished at 6-under.
— Justin Rose (@JustinRose99) April 10, 2017
— Laureus (@LaureusSport) April 9, 2017
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 9, 2017
— Dick fulchers lad (@Fooch1993) April 9, 2017
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 10, 2017