Spain has a long and glorious history at Augusta National Golf Club. The first Spanish golfer to compete in the tournament was Angel Miguel in 1959. A young boy named Severiano Ballesteros began hitting shots up and down the beaches of Pedreña, Spain, and went on to become Europe’s first player to capture a Green Jacket and the tournament’s then-youngest champion, four days past his 23rd birthday in 1980.
Ballesteros would go on to win again three years later, and in 1985, another promising Spanish artist, Jose Maria Olazabal, won his first Masters, soaking in all that Ballesteros would teach him about the place. Olazabal would become a two-time champion at Augusta National, winning in 1994 and 1999. Spain’s future carried a colorful name: El Niño. Sergio Garcia shot 295 and took home the sterling Silver Cup as Low Amateur in 1999.
Garcia went toe-to-toe with a young Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship at Medinah, outside Chicago. In April 2017, Garcia broke through to win the 81st Masters in a sudden-death playoff against Justin Rose. His triumph came on what would have been Ballesteros’ 60th birthday. There have been 59 Masters titles won by US golfers. Spain and South Africa are second, with five apiece. The next generation of Spanish stars, led by Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera Bello, would love to add to Spain’s total. They have drawn inspiration from the examples of their countrymen.