How Justin Rose's classy reaction to great friend Sergio Garcia's Masters win warmed our hearts
In the most painful of sporting moments, Justin Rose last night produced the classiest of reactions to the man he calls a great friend.
Defeated, down and no doubt weary after a gripping final round tussle with Sergio Garcia, Rose turned to the new Masters champion and embraced him, delighted the Spaniard had finally ended his 18-year wait to win a first major.
It's a heart-warming moment that will live as long in the memory as Garcia's Augusta triumph and a fitting end to a tremendous tournament.
"Sergio and I have played a lot of golf together since we were 14 years old," Rose said afterwards.
"We have a great friendship and a good rivalry. It is good for him to have the monkey off his back and I am very pleased for him."
He later tweeted: "Congrats @TheSergioGarcia. Incredible battle out there. Sport in the moment can be tough. But it's just sport. Hope you guys enjoyed it."
'Great battle between two champions': Golfers revel in epic battle
2 unbelievable players and 2 great friends, but I couldn't be happier for @TheSergioGarcia. You deserve it all amigo!!— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) April 9, 2017
'Sportsmanship personified': How viewers reacted
Pure class from Justin rose. That's sportsmanship personified https://t.co/al53uM9FOO— Jeremy Dixon (@JeremyDixonDJ) April 10, 2017
Could every single young sportsperson in the UK be shown that Justin Rose tweet? That's how to behave. That's how to keep it in context.— Mark Pougatch (@markpougatch) April 10, 2017
Rose believes his time will come again
Rose has come a long way since springing to prominence as a 17-year-old amateur when he holed a shot from the rough at the final hole to finish tied fourth in the 1998 British Open.
He turned professional but initially struggled, missing 21 consecutive cuts and losing his European Tour card in 2000.
Rose regrouped quickly, however, and has established himself as one of the game's leading players, now ranked 14th in the world.
His victory in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion confirmed his place among golf's elite players and he finished runner-up to Jordan Spieth in the 2015 Masters.
He has played in four Ryder Cups, including the 2012 "Miracle at Medinah" when he beat five-times major champion Phil Mickelson in the singles to help Europe recover from 10-6 down to defeat the United States in one of sport's great comebacks.
The Olympic gold medal at last year's Games in Rio de Janeiro was another significant landmark for Rose who believes he is at the peak of his powers.
"When I won at Merion I looked at it as I've got 40 majors in my prime and how many can I pick off," he said.
"I still have 20 or so left that I feel really primed and ready for."
Coming Soon: Independent.ie's new GAA newsletter. Sign up here