Sometimes the end of a rainbow is wearing all black, big sunglasses and the smile that melts your heart.
That's what Phil Mickelson saw when he looked behind the 18th green at Augusta National late Sunday afternoon as the sun was casting a golden glow and the Masters was his to win for a third time.
His challengers conquered, his place in history enhanced and his green jacket waiting for him, Mickelson looked up and saw his wife, Amy, and their three children waiting for him.
The only thing missing was enough tissues.
"I can't put it into words," Mickelson said a few minutes later, his voice cracking at the green jacket ceremony behind the clubhouse. "It just feels incredible. To be able to share this kind of joy means a lot."
It has been nine months since Mickelson's wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and though the long-term prognosis is good, day-to-day life has been physically and emotionally challenging. Mickelson's mother, Mary, is also fighting a similar fight to Amy Mickelson's, doubling the tug on head and heart.
When he's not being a husband, son and father, Mickelson is still one of the two best golfers in the world, and his performance over four spectacular days at Augusta National was a reminder of how good he can be.
Mickelson finished at 16-under-par 272, three shots better than third-round leader Lee Westwood, four ahead of fast-closing Anthony Kim and five clear of Tiger Woods and K.J. Choi.
On Sunday, Mickelson shot a bogey-free 67 that was pure Phil. He wasn't always perfect, but he was consistently brilliant. With his eyes wide and his game on full throttle, Mickelson delivered a four-day performance that ranks among the best - and certainly the most emotional - of his career.
"I've got to think that down the road this win will mean way more than any other victory he's had. He played great," Mickelson's caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay said.
Mickelson, who now has four major championships and 38 career PGA Tour victories, arrived at Augusta seeking inspiration, and he found it. He talked often about how relaxed he feels playing Augusta National's wide fairways, and he seemed to take energy from it.
The same trait that has gotten Mickelson in trouble in the past - an unwavering and occasionally unrealistic trust in his ability - delivered his third Masters victory in seven years.
Mickelson's Masters came alive Saturday afternoon when he challenged the par-5 13th hole, scissoring a 191-yard 7-iron shot to within eight feet of the hole on a narrow ledge, setting up the first of back-to-back eagles that electrified the day.
It was Mickelson at his aggressive best.
So were the brilliant par saves he made after errant drives at the ninth and 10th holes Sunday.
Again at the 13th in the final round, Mickelson won the tournament. He had just rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at the dangerous par-3 12th to take a one-shot lead over Choi.
Then he found himself standing in pine straw, staring at a four-foot gap between two trees, his golf ball 207 yards from the hole. At a place famous for its broken dreams, Mickelson seized the moment.
"I tried to talk him into laying up, and he said no," Mackay said. "Then we found out Choi made a six, and I went back again. He said definitely no. He said there's an opening in the trees, it's a 6-iron, all I have to do is execute.
"That's Phil. He simplifies things: Give me the club and get out of the way."
With history on his shoulders, Mickelson ripped a dream out of the pine needles, his ball stopping four feet from the hole. He missed the putt but won the tournament.
"The gap was big enough to fit the ball through. I needed to trust my swing on that shot," Mickelson said.
Maybe that's what you do when you've been reminded your golden days aren't always forever.
With a two-stroke lead, Mickelson marched it home, climbing the hill at the 18th with his first major championship victory in four years secure.
Mickelson's wife and children had flown in from San Diego on Tuesday night, their plans not made until Amy made the decision earlier that day. She stayed at their rented home during the week, fighting the effects of her treatment and leaving her husband to do his work.
"I wanted to let this week be about him," Amy Mickelson said. "I didn't want to put him in a compromising position. Does he hit balls or take care of me because I'm not feeling well? We're figuring out the new normal."
Shortly before Mickelson closed the tournament with his birdie at the 18th, his caddie looked up and saw Amy.
"I was a bit of a puddle then," Mackay said.
Mickelson had already seen his wife.
As they walked to the Butler Cabin after his win, Amy Mickelson choked up trying to talk about her husband.
Moments later at the green jacket ceremony, he nearly did, too.
"We've been through a lot this year," Mickelson said. "It means a lot to share some joy together."