Sergio still buzzing over his Masters title ahead of Players

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Garcia, who tees off Thursday afternoon at the US PGA Players Championship, captured his first major title after 73 failures last month at Augusta National, downing England's Justin Rose in a playoff to claim the coveted green jacket symbolic of Masters champions. "I've been very fortunate to have awesome cheers, 15,000, 20,000 people chanting my name at Augusta, Ryder Cups, British Open and it's unbelievable".

Perhaps the greatest thing Garcia has enjoyed since the win has been the reaction of his peers, like McIlroy.

Garcia faces another major moment this summer.

"I was telling Rory McIlroy and some of the other guys that I've been very fortunate to have wonderful cheers, with 15-20,000 people chanting my name at Augusta and Ryder Cups".

"It was very unique and something that, along with many things that happened at Augusta, and since, that I will never forget".

That will fully sink it at 1:41 p.m. Thursday on the first tee at TPC Sawgrass when he is introduced as - not only the 2008 Players champion - the Masters champion.

He's a nice guy, I think I'm a nice guy, and we can all get along fine. "I'm excited about it. I'm sure a lot of things will go through my mind about that week and stuff, but it's a great thing to have".

Masters champion Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy were among the later starters and Garcia had just four players below him on the leaderboard after taking 40 shots to cover the front nine.

As a golfer, Garcia says he longs to improve each year over year. "But having to wait 18 years, as we have, and to be able to do it now I think that probably I respect it a lot more than if I would have won it on my third or fourth try". "I feel like I have even more room for improvement".

One can not spell perseverance without "Seve" and it added to the epic aspect of Garcia's triumph that it came on what would have been the 60th birthday of Seve Ballesteros, the Spanish legend who died of brain cancer in 2011 at age 54.

"He was extremely happy for me to have won the Masters".

"There's definitely a passion there and I think it was probably a bit confused and maybe it came out in the wrong way", said 1998 Players victor Justin Leonard, now a Golf Channel analyst. But I think at the end of the day, the most important thing is to not change.

Garcia, who said this is the 12th ace of his life both in competition and out, has owned the hallowed fairways of TPC Sawgrass since his victory in 2008, when he used another wonderful shot on 17 to win in a play-off. Why, just four years ago, the Players' Stadium Course was the setting for a combative Sergio vs. Tiger Woods feud, and you all remember whom the fans wanted to win that one.

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