"And I hit probably one of the best putts I hit all week".
In the end, Garcia would win his first major on the first playoff hole following an epic stretch of holes at the end of regulation.
After that, he racked up 19 top-10 finishes in majors but always came up short.
Rose made a clumsy bogey at the Par 4 fifth to drop two behind Garcia but responded with a fine birdie on seven to restore the deficit to just one.
Putting first, Rose missed his par putt and tapped in for bogey.
But then he faced a 6-foot putt for par on the 17th.
McIlroy felt he still had a chance of claiming a first green jacket if he could match, or better, his lowest score in the Masters, a 65 in the first round having seemingly set him on course for victory in 2011.
Former PGA Champion Rich Beem has hailed Sergio Garcia for his Masters success and praised Justin Rose for his performance at Augusta National.
Garcia, for a change, had a U.S. crowd on his side, and Rose said that was a mark of respect the United States fans had shown the Spaniard after years of torture in golf's biggest events. "You know under the gun with the pressure and everything, it's not that easy to do".
An inner calm and the words of his idols Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal helped Sergio Garcia join his heroes as a Masters champion on Sunday night, writes Simon Lewis. I didn't hit a great shot, but it was all about just getting it back to the fairway. You've got to put yourself out there. He did mention something that touched my heart.
"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 didn't make the putts that kind of continued to hold momentum or build momentum".
The question will be in what year did Sergio Garcia win his first major. "Is Sergio going to be able to finish?'" Nicklaus added. That's a great. Any time one of those types of players, there's a handful of them, and any time one of those guys gets that huge monkey off their back. "And if not, we'll shake Justin's hand and congratulate him for winning".
"I did think about it, am I ever going to win one?"
"A lot of things were going through my mind, my people, my moments that didn't go the way I wanted", Garcia said. So it did cross my mind. I feel really confident here, this is my favourite tournament of the year.