One year after having the greatest possible moment at Augusta National’s 15th hole, Sergio Garcia had the absolute worst.
In the first round of this year’s Masters, Garcia went into the 15th hole at two over par, five shots back of the leader. Looking to make up some ground on one of the back nine’s two par-5 holes, he hit a tee shot into the fairway, then took an aggressive approach shot into the green.
Sergio’s ball landed on the green and rolled ... and rolled …and rolled, straight off the green, down the slope, and into the pond. Hitting the water at 15 is not uncommon—that’s what the water hazard is there for, after all. So Garcia shook off the shot and lined it up again.
His second ball also landed on the green and rolled … and rolled … and rolled, straight off the green, down the slope, and into the pond.
So he lined up a for a third shot. Once again, his ball landed on the green and rolled … and rolled … and you see where we’re going with this, right? It rolled straight off the green, down the slope, and into the pond. At this point, I was pretty sure my broadcast was somehow looping the same footage over and over again, completely ignoring the rest of the competitors. There’s no way a professional golfer could hit the water three times in a row, right? Right?!
Right! Because Garcia didn’t hit the water three times. He also didn’t hit the water four times. Garcia plunked his ball into the water five times, going on to finish the hole in an eight-over 13 shots. That score brought him from two-over on the day to 10-over, effectively ending his Masters tournament with 21 holes still to play before the cut (after making birdie at 16, Garcia finished the day nine over par). His 13 shots tied a Masters record for shots taken on a hole—not exactly the way the defending Masters champion envisioned himself making the history books this weekend, I’m sure.
Garcia is just a year removed from winning his first major tournament at Augusta, and hole no. 15 played a big part in that victory. In that final round, he hit a beautiful approach shot over the water, setting up a 14-foot eagle putt that he sank to tie Justin Rose for the lead.
Three holes plus a playoff hole later, Garcia donned his first green jacket and etched his name into Masters history. Now, just 12 months after that win, instead of repeating this moment:
He got this: