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Monday, April 11, 2011

The Limerick Summary: 2011 Masters

Winner: Charl Schwartzel

Around the wider world of golf: What wider world of golf? Everything stops for the Masters! Ok, that's not entirely true... the LPGA Futures Tour was in action. Former Big Breaker Ryann O'Toole won the Santorini Riviera Nayarit Classic.

Charl Schwartzel after eagle on the 3rd hole
Click the photo to read europeantour.com's article on what Schwartzel accomplished with this win.

On the 50th anniversary of Gary Player's 1st Masters victory (both for himself and for South Africa), another South African got his 1st Masters victory as well. Charl Schwartzel's bump-and-run birdie on the 1st and his hole-out eagle on the 3rd were great, but his 4 birdie run on 15-18 to take the tournament was just incredible.

You may remember I made a big deal about Schwartzel last year when he nearly beat Ernie Els at the WGC-Doral. Well, Sunday's win jumped Charl from #20 to #11 in the OGWR and jumps him to #4 in my own RGWR, just ahead of his buddy Louis Oosthuizen. While both have 2 wins in the last year (one a major), Charl has more high finishes in other tournaments -- just this year he has an 8th, two 4ths, and a 2nd in addition to his two wins.

On Golf Channel's pregame show, Gary Player said he thought anybody within 7 strokes of the lead still had a chance and that funny things often happen the final day of a Masters... although he added that he had picked Rory before the tournament ever started. I wonder what Charl thought about that?

Such humorous moments are common at the Masters, and this one had other humorous moments early on as well. Did any of you see the footage of Tiger and Westwood meeting each other on the putting green in similar outfits? It was hilarious!

But this Masters got serious very quickly. It was much different from any other we've seen, simply in terms of how many storylines came together:

Anniversaries: Ten years since the Tiger Slam, 25 years since the Jack Attack, and 50 years since Gary Player broke ground for the international winners. Add Seve's birthday to the mix and you've got a special week right from the start.

The Train Wreck: Did anybody expect Rory McIlroy to fall as badly as he did? He'll be back -- he's too good not to rise above this -- but as a wise man once said, "Some of us learn from other people's mistakes; the rest of us get to be the other people."

The Return of the Prodigal: He's baaaack... sort of. I'm sure Rory had considered that someone might catch up to him before the day was over. However, I doubt he expected that person to be Tiger Woods. In 9 holes he had moved from 7 back to 1 back before his putting deserted him.

Still, he carries away a lot of positives. I do think Friday was a turning point for Tiger. As I said in Saturday's post, it's the first time I've seen him actually "swinging the club" rather just trying to "hit positions." Although he didn't score particularly well Saturday, he's clearly had a (pardon the pun) major breakthrough in his rebuild process. And I don't think Sean Foley's going to be criticized as much now.

The Curse from Down Under: Australians just can't seem to get a win at Augusta. Still, three -- THREE! -- made runs on Sunday and nearly succeeded. And the two who tied for 2nd will leave Augusta knowing it's only a matter of time:
  • Geoff Ogilvy: He wasn't on anybody's radar till he shot 31 on the back 9. His game is looking good.
  • Adam Scott: Has Scott's game ever looked this good? This T2 was his best-ever finish in a major.
  • Jason Day: The Masters virgin joked that he needed to pay people to cheer for him. After this T2, that won't ever be a problem again. And with that birdie on the 18th? 'Nuff said.
Unlucky (Par) Three: My pick to win, Luke Donald, supposedly fell to the par-3 curse. However, this is the first time Luke ever shot par or better in all four rounds at a Masters, and he snagged a T4 with an amazing birdie on the 18th. That's a curse?

Tanks and Ducks and Van Pelts: Although in the end K.J. Choi, Angel Cabrera, and Bo Van Pelt ended up as also-rans, they were integral players who all held a share of the lead at some point... actually, at several points.

Sole Survivor: And I don't want to forget that Hideki Matsuyama finished as low amateur this year. Some people criticized the tournament decision to offer a Masters invitation to the holder of the 2010 Asian Amateur title, but Matsuyama's finish ought to put an end to that debate. He was the only amateur to make the cut!

It Could Be Verse: But regardless of how many great stories we had, today's Limerick Summary has to be dedicated to the newest invitee to the Champions' Dinner held each April at Augusta National:
This banquet was set for Charl Schwartzel,
Who stepped up and savored each mortzel.
He ate up the course;
With this tour de force
His world rank won’t be controvortzel.

1 comment:

  1. 4 birdies to close out. Now that's clutch, and...I think Rory handled himself very well after his meltdown on the course. He could have ran and hid from the media, but he answered all the questions with integrity.

    Perspective is a funny thing though. An 80 for Rory was considered horrendous. An 80 for me is a dream round. I have some work to do:-)

    ReplyDelete