In his moment of defeat those words took some saying but they epitomised the class of Rose and the spirit in which a five-hour, slow-burning thriller was fought.
The stakes may have been enormous, the tension extraordinary but the sportsmanlike manner in which a contest of craft, skill and nerve unfolded gave it an added layer of quality.
A friendly tap with a putter here, a thumbs-up there and even a low-five after both threatened the hole with their tee shots at the 16th in regulation play – this was two rivals with their arms around each other as they were at its each other’s throats.
As Garcia put it afterwards – they both wanted to win desperately but they did not want the other man to lose.
The two European Ryder Cup teammates go back a long way. They first locked horns more than 20 years ago as junior hotshots. “We’ve played a lot of golf together since we were about 14 years old. We’ve always had a good friendship and a good camaraderie and good rivalry,” said Rose.
When Rose exploded onto the golf scene with his fourth-place finish as a teenager amateur at The Open in 1998, Garcia was first in the scorers’ tent to congratulate him.
English golfers at the 2017 Masters Tue, April 4, 2017
Express Sport runs through the field of English golfers chasing the green jacket at the 2017 Masters
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Express Sport runs through the English golfers competing at the 2017 Masters
“He has always been happy for me – not just in ‘98 at Birkdale but after my US Open win too. It must be hard for guys striving to win Majors seeing their peers pick them off and they are kind of being left behind.
“So it’s nice for him now to have that monkey off his back. He does deserves it as much as anyone. He has had his fair share of heartache.”
In that elongated bear hug on the 18th, Rose also added: “I’m very happy for you. Enjoy it.”
And Rose meant it. Of course, he wanted that Green Jacket badly but if the golf gods decreed this was not to be his time, then he was content for Garcia to have it.
He had given everything he had and on this occasion the other man had won. He could live with that.
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The outcome of a golf match, however giant in scale, was not going to affect the pair’s friendship; in fact sharing such moments will probably serve to deepen it.
Before he fired the gun on a special Masters at the ceremonial tee off Jack Nicklaus spoke of how he and Arnold Palmer used to try to beat each other’s brains out on the golf course yet remain close off it.
Justin Rose congratulates Sergio Garcia on his Masters win
Sergio Garcia has opened up on his close relationship with Justin Rose
Rose and Garcia exemplified that approach on Masters Sunday.
“Sergio and Justin played great golf. It was exciting to watch. It was a fun tournament for all, including me,” said Nicklaus.
“I know the people who watched it, enjoyed it, because it was really, really good golf.” And golf permeated by an obvious respect.
Too often in professional sport that respect is lacking, sacrificed on the altar of naked self-aggrandisement. Rose and Garcia proved that honour still has a place at the highest level of sport. The Masters prides itself on its standards; the gentlemen’s duel ensured they were well and truly met in 2017.
“Hopefully people will remember it fondly. It’s always a nice to be a part of history. I would have liked to be the right part of it but nevertheless I hope it goes down as a good one,” said Rose.