Masters winner Sergio Garcia and fiancee Angela Akins visited the Empire State Building the day after he won the 81st Masters tournament
Celebrating his Masters win, Sergio Garcia and the woman he’s called his inspiration, fiancee Angela Akins, took Manhattan by storm.
The were in an empire state of mind as the day after the tournament, the happy couple took in the top of the Empire State Building, Garcia in his green jacket, of course.
The new champion and his lovely lady took in the stunning view from the top of the famous building.
‘Don’t forget to be amazing’ was the note that Akins left for her future husband on Sunday
They also toured the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
It may have been Akins’ calming and inspiration influence on the golfer that rocketed him to victory.
All week she had been leaving notes on the bathroom mirror. Inspirational quotes by figures ranging from Mahatma Gandhi to Audrey Hepburn.
‘She’s had a calming influence’ her father said of Akins’ effect on the golfer
Garcia dueled with Justin Rose to come out ahead in the top tournament
Finally, she left one from herself, a motivational line that came to sum up another unforgettable Sunday epic at the Masters. ‘Don’t forget to be amazing today.’
Look back through the annals, from Arnold Palmer to Gary Player to Jack Nicklaus, and for every great golfer there’s usually a fine woman standing by his side.
In his Masters jacket, Garcia visited the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday
Garcia holds a commemorative award presented by John Tuttle, Global Head of Listings at the NYSE
Sergio Garcia celebrates with fiancee Angela Akins after winning the Masters at Augusta
Three days before his 37th birthday, Garcia posted on Twitter that the couple are tying the knot
Akins, who played college golf at University of Texas, has been dating Garcia since late 2015
Garcia and his fiancee celebrate Sunday’s thrilling play-off triumph at Augusta
Akins might not have struck a shot at the 81st edition of the event but she was the reason why finally he got over the line at the 74th attempt. She was the missing piece.
Garcia thought of those notes when he let out a primal scream after the birdie putt dropped at the first extra hole to end an epic against Justin Rose. As he dropped to his haunches, his life in golf flashed before him.
He thought of a poignant message from Jose Maria Olazabal on the eve of the tournament: ‘I don’t have anyone sharing my locker in the Champions’ Locker Room at the moment and I’m hoping it will be you.’
He thought of all the years he’d wasted raging against the fates until Akins taught him the inestimable value of perspective.
The happy couple pose with Garcia wearing his green jacket after breaking his major duck
‘There were a lot of things going through my mind,’ he conceded. ‘I was thinking of all my friends and family who had supported me, all those moments when it didn’t go my way. How stupid I had been to fight against things you can’t fight and how proud I was of finally accepting things.’
Akins was working for the Golf Channel in America when they met. She was no mean golfer herself, having played at collegiate level. Her father Marty was an all-American college quarterback. The family ooze positivity. They were there outside the ropes on Sunday, wearing Sergio caps.
‘Sergio was obviously a great golfer before he met Angela but I do think he’s an even greater golfer now they’re together,’ said Marty. ‘She’s had a calming influence.’
You could see it in Dubai earlier this year, when Garcia outlasted a man as tough as Henrik Stenson to win the Desert Classic. It was like having the old, happy-go-lucky Sergio back and you felt maybe his race at the majors might not be done.
Goodness, what a journey it has been. I first met him when he was 19. I was invited to spend the day with him at his home course near Valencia. We played golf and then his mother made paella. When the day was over, he gave me a signed photograph, complete with the inscription: ‘It was a pleasure spending time with you. From your new friend, Sergio.’
Garcia screams in celebration after holing a birdie putt in a sudden death play-off on the 18th
A few months later, the wider sporting world fell in love with him when he took on the mighty Tiger Woods and pushed him all the way at the 1999 USPGA Championship. How many majors is this teen going to win, we wondered.
It was sad to see golf and love drag him down. If he wasn’t suffering disappointments at the majors he was suffering heartbreak outside the ropes. For a while he was a broken man after splitting with Greg Norman’s daughter Morgan-Leigh in 2009. The following year he didn’t even make Europe’s Ryder Cup team. It has been a long road back.
Even when he was a lion in defeat by the Americans at Hazeltine last time, the view was that there was too much scar tissue to win at the majors.
Justin Rose congratulates his friend Garcia after failing to win his first Masters title on Sunday
After all, no man in Masters history had won his first green jacket as late as his 19th attempt. Leading at halfway failed to convince the online trolls who couldn’t wait to tell us he would choke.
When he stumbled at the start of the back nine, falling two shots behind the doughty Rose and pulling his tee shot into the trees at the 13th, it looked like a re-run of a familiar horror movie. ‘In the past I would have been wondering, “Why did it not go through the trees?”’ reflected Garcia afterwards, in a lovely moment of self-deprecation.
It was appropriate that the moment of fulfilment should come alongside Rose. They met when they were 14, as the leading amateurs for Britain and Spain.
When 17-year-old Rose came to prominence in 1998 at the Open at Birkdale, finishing joint-fourth, Garcia was the first man to congratulate him.
They’ve both known their share of hard times. Both have always been brilliant ball-strikers but suspect putters. The respect they have for one another was clear throughout their marvellous Sunday afternoon at Augusta.
As the pair embraced at the end, Rose whispered in Garcia’s ear: ‘I’m happy for you. Nobody deserved it more than you.’ Rose was packing up and departing when they bumped into one another once more. Garcia had just finished his media duties, clad in his green jacket. ‘Look at this man!’ said Rose, giving the victor another hug.
There had been playful talk of getting married in green when Sergio and Angela tie the knot in July but it will not happen. That Garcia is behind us — the one whose life was dictated by what happened on the golf course.
‘I wouldn’t say my life had been a horror movie but it certainly had quite a bit of drama,’ said Garcia, smiling. ‘Now it’s got a happy ending and it’s going to be quite a summer.’