The hero–a 37-year-old Spanish golf-wunderkind who finally fulfilled his potential after 19 years of disappointments in majors.
The heroine–a beautiful American from a sporting family, whose love and support for our hero propelled him to previously-unreached heights.
The setting–Augusta National, The Masters Tournament.
After 73 attempts, Sergio Garcia finally shed the title Best-Player-Without-a-Major by winning the sudden-death playoff over his friend, the Englishman Justin Rose, and putting on the coveted Green Jacket. Everyone calls it a story of redemption, a new and mature Sergio overcoming his demons and at last breaking through in what is probably the greatest golf tournament in the world.
Me, I’m fascinated with the love story of Sergio Garcia and Angela Akins. I agree with several publications like The Washington Post and Mirror that she’s the it-factor, the secret behind his newfound success. In previous years, I never rooted for Sergio. He was a whiny brat–petulant, had a persecution complex, rude to American fans, and was tactless in his speech about his competitors like Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington. But over the past couple of years, since he and Angela started their relationship, he had mellowed, softened, grown up. I admired his self-deprecating demeanor during the Ryder Cup and his fight to equal Phil Mickelson point for point, resulting in one of the best matches in the competition’s history.
On Thursday, the first day of the Masters, I had him as one of my Top Five picks to win alongside Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, and Fred Couples. After my American choices fell down the leaderboard, I continued to cheer Sergio on and rejoiced when he sank that birdie on the 73rd hole. Finally, Sergio Garcia is a major champion. All because he is at peace, happy, and in love.
So, if in the future you’ll read a romance novel written by me about a professional golfer with an abrasive personality who has never won the big one until he met the love of his life, you can say that it might have been inspired by Sergio and Angela.
Photo credit: AP/David Goldman