Masters champion Garcia returns to action at The Players

Rory Mc Ilroy was happy his pal Sergio won the green jacket

It's been a heady time for Garcia, who is still being congratulated on his Masters triumph wherever he goes - including at Sawgrass this week.

When Garcia, 37, beat Justin Rose on the first playoff hole, the two competitors embraced and Rose said, "Nobody deserved it more than you". None more so than his Ryder Cup teammate Rory McIlroy, who admitted he was reduced to tears.

"But to walk on what I think is the best stadium in the world, the Bernabeu, in a Classico against Barcelona, which is probably the biggest football game that exists in this world, and to have 90,000 people chanting your name, that was extremely special". "But it was just nice to - it was nice to see fellow players that are friends of yours and friends of mine in this case that they're genuinely very happy for you to achieve that".

"I've been saying it, I'm still the same person", Garcia said.

He recounted how he sped down Washington Road in Augusta after his final round at the Masters to watch the taut conclusion at his rental home, and cursed at the television set when Garcia missed a putt to win on the 72nd hole.

The golf world, which once had issues with Garcia's petulance when he was younger and less mature, now embraces him as a veteran who had paid more than his dues before finally tasting the nectar of a major championship victory.

"It would be nice to be the first in history (to win back-to-back), but it's day one, it's going to be hot tomorrow and play tough the next three days, so I just have to slowly inch my way up the leader board and hopefully be in there Sunday". He has not played since the Masters. The support from fans, supporters and everyone around the world has been incredible. I'm not going to lie to you.

After 18 years, however, Garcia no longer has to answer to being the greatest player without a real major.

"I've known Sergio for a while now - everyone in this room has known how hard or how close he has been to winning majors, " Jason Day said. "No one ever wants that". "This will open a lot more doors for him as he starts his next chapter in his career as a major champion". "I didn't hear one guy say anything negative".

He is the first player to win a Green Jacket and make an ace at a Tour event in the same year since Tiger Woods in 1997.

"It's got to be an incredible feeling for Sergio". "The first time I saw him was when he got into our wedding on Friday night".

"It's been unbelievable", Garcia said.

Click on the video above to see Garcia's fantastic ace, the Spaniard becoming only the eighth man to sink their tee shot on 17 at TPC Sawgrass, following in the footsteps of Willy Wilcox who achieved the feat past year.

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