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2011 Masters – One Of The Best Ever

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011
Categories: European TourGolfPGA TourPro GolfRory McIloryThe MastersTiger Woods
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I’m in HOG world headquarters with my 3rd cup o’ Joe, Masters flags on the walls and a picture of Bobby Jones above me. I’m ready to post my (perhaps) final thoughts on the 2011 Masters. My big toe hurts, from nearly cutting it off five minutes before the final round TV coverage started.  I’ve actually got golfer’s elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist from all of the blogging, tweeting, facebooking and high fives the last four days.

Charl Schwartzel Masters Champion

Tears in his eyes.... click for more 2011 Masters images

Charl Schwartzel, tears in his eyes, Masters champion

I’ll admit I knew next to nothing about Charl Schwartzel before this year’s Masters.  In fact, about the only few things I know now is that he’s from South Africa, he has nerves of steel and is the 2011 Masters champion.

I was sure his lack of experience in this tournament would lead to him gagging in the last few holes.  Boy was I wrong.  He amazingly lit up the final nine, performing what will forever be referred to as a “Schwartzel” in my golf group: making birdie on the last four holes.

Many HOG congratulations to Charl, whose life will never be the same.  Welcome to the most exclusive club in golf.

Tiger Woods

Tiger was 7 shots back when he started, and by the time he was half way done with his round he’d managed a tie for the lead.  That was an incredible feat.  The eagle on #8 was amazing, as he hit a shot to about 12 feet from 240+.  The up and down from the left bunker to an extremely slanted green on #9 was almost impossible.

But Tiger was the only player in the top of the leaderboard who didn’t shoot under par on the back nine.  Why?  Putting.  He missed several short putts on the back, two which were very deflating.  He 3-putted #12 and missed a short eagle putt on #15 which would have given him the lead at that time.  Tiger had six 3-putts on the week.  Do the math.  He was four shots back.  No three putts and he wins.

Nick Faldo and Jim Nantz predict major record 62 from Tiger during round… yeah, right

When Tiger finished his front nine at 31 and was tied for the lead, Nick Faldo and Jim Nantz started in with the 62 talk.  They were basically predicting a green jacket for TW and a major tournament record 62.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about golf, it is to never count on things before they happen.

Aussies

I was amazed that Adam Scott played so well.  He tied for 2nd and had a chance to win.  I’m not a fan of long putters, but in his case switching to that stick was the best move he’s made.  The putt he made to save par on #17 was not probable and I was sure he’d miss it.

Geoff Ogilvy was a threat with a 67 on Sunday which brought him up to a tie for 4th with Tiger Woods and Luke Donald.

Jason Day was another player I didn’t know much about, but I do now.  This guy is a long hitting stud with a ton of game.  We will certainly be hearing his name more in the years to come.  The 64 on Friday was amazing, one shot off the tournament record.

Luke Donald

You had to know Luke Donald wouldn’t win the Masters when he won the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday.  But he came close.  Luke had one of the nuttiest birdies on #18 Sunday.  His stance in the left greenside bunker forced him to make up a bizarre swing which looked like it could produce a shot which could go anywhere.  Anywhere turned out to be hitting the flag stick and unluckily bounding off the front of the green.  Then the golf gods paid him back for that misfortune by letting him chip it in.  T4.

Guys I Wanted To Win

There’s something cool about Angel Cabrera.  This guy has golf balls as big as anybody. No fear. He wins majors and that is it. Angel was in the mix for quite a while, but just couldn’t get over the hump.  The bogey on #16 was the end of his hopes.  I love watching this guy play.

K.J. Choi is another player I would have loved to see win.  Maybe that is because my golf pro says I have a similar swing, minus the “granny” part I throw in to mine.  Choi was close for a while, but ended T8.

Rory McIlroy

Handled the loss with class! Bravo!

Rory McIlroy

Finally, the meltdown.  Anybody who golfs knows what happened to McIlroy.  You could see that he was barely keeping it together on the front nine.  His shots were weak blocks to the right, like on #5.

I had serious doubts about McIlroy’s chances when he hit a chip on #8 which barely got onto the green.  But then he still had a chance.

When McIlroy hit that drive on #10 which bounced off of the tall pines on the left and ended up near Butler Cabin, I couldn’t believe it.  The nightmare was about to become reality.  All he could do was chip back to the fairway, to where he’d have a 3rd shot from miles away.  3rd shot is pulled left of the green where he then hits a high chip into a tree.  You could see the life being sucked out of him at that point.  His eyes looked glazed over and bags formed under them.  I know the feeling, though only in my city am.  Best he could do was try to make a double with a long putt which didn’t drop.  Triple bogey.

I was heartbroken for Rory.  That said though, he still had a great chance with the bulk of of back nine coming up and birdie/eagle holes #13 and #15.

So after the triple bogey on #10, the hardest hole on the course is next.  Bogey.  Leaking oil fast.

#12 produced a FOUR putt.  That was so hard to watch I could hardly bear it.

On #13, thankfully the TV coverage on Rory stopped.

After the round McIlroy handled himself in a very classy fashion.  He wasn’t mad or anything.  Post round on twitter, he’s been very cool about it:

Well that wasn’t the plan! Found it tough going today, but you have to lose before you can win. This day will make me stronger in the end.

Final Thoughts

I know I say it every year, but this was one of the best Masters tournaments ever.  With a five way tie for the lead at one point and many other players one or two shots away, the intensity was amazing.

Can’t wait until 2012.

 

7 responses to “2011 Masters – One Of The Best Ever”

  1. sportsglutton says:

    I agree with you about Rory and that there were signs that a collapse might be coming. Watching McIlroy’s yesterday I thought there were 3 factors which contributed to McIlroy’s unfortunate collapse.
    First, Rory wasn’t playing with Jason Day as he did during the first 3 rounds (never underestimated the positive energy from a pairing…just ask Adam Scott who played with Day on Sunday).
    Second, the slow pace of play on the front nine (five plus minute wait at times) must have been frustrating for McIlroy who prefers a quicker pace. It made me recalled how much Steve Marino’s performance on Sunday at this year’s AT&T was affected by the slowness of the groups in front of him.
    Third, it was the Sunday of a major championship and Rory was dealing with all the pressures that encompass having the lead. The result, McIlroy was tired and slightly frustrated coming off the 9th hole and everything unraveled on 10th.

  2. Interesting to note that this past week marks the 4th major in a row that the Saturday night leader didn’t break 80.

  3. sportsglutton says:

    Don’t you mean just second major in a row? I know Dustin Johnson (US Open) and Nick Watney (PGA) did this, but if memory serves me correct Oosthuizen held the lead going in the final round at the Open Championship.

  4. Legalbgl says:

    I agree, the slow play really affected him. They mentioned it on the broadcast a few times as well. However, I have to say, if you want to be a major champion, you have to put that out of your mind and raise you game no matter what. That being said, I thought he took defeat as well as anyone. Sure he wants to crawl into an Irish pub and sulk away, but he will be back and I predict a green jacket before he is 30 (more likely, 25.)

    On the mental side of the game, the downfall for Tiger was the putt that stayed up on the lip on Saturday. He lost it if after that. His whole round changed after that putt. If he stayed focused, he would have won. Yes, he had the professionalism to come back strong Sunday, but that Saturday round was his undoing. My guess, he wins at Congressional.

  5. sportsglutton you may be right. A media scribe told me this stat and I didn’t check myself, because I’m one of those bloggers who doesn’t use a spell checker or check facts. Ahem. Ok I do use a spell checker.

    Sounds like 3 out of the last four then. Maybe it was 4/4 US majors…

  6. freegolfbettingtips says:

    Charl Schwartzel surprise everyone when he played amazingly lit up the final nine,even me i didnt know this man.as tiger woods follower i forget some new faces in this sports.and in the near future we must be ready that there is a lot of new faces will play and get trophies.

  7. Kevin C says:

    I’m from South Africa (High Fives all round) so I know a lot of Schwartzel, and me and my golf buddies all said that he will win a major sometime, just didn’t think so soon! Got one of the best swings I’ve ever seen, and he has got serious bmt. Whenever he plays on our local tour, he is in the mix. Everytime. And what makes it extra special, he is the nicest guy you will ever meet.

    Felt so bad for Rory. If Charl didn’t win, then I wanted him to. Been big fan of his for ages. But big respect to him for handling it like a man. Well done Rory.

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