Charl Schwartzel captures Green Jacket
Charl (where’s the es? ) Schwartzel finished off his final round at the Masters with four straight birdies on 15, 16, 17 and 18 to shoot a 66 and finish 14 under par to win by two shots over Adam Scott and Jason Day, both of Australia. The South African put on a clinic in a pressure-packed Masters, one of the all time greatest Sundays at Augusta with nine players in the mix going into the final six holes. Scott and Day played very well, too. Scott shot a 67 and Day a 68 as they put in great attempts to win their first green jacket. Day birdied the 18th to pull even with Scott at 12 under, one behind Schwartzel. But Charl birdied 18 from 20 feet to clinch it.
He became the third South African to win the Masters. Gary Player won it three times in 1961, 1974 and 1978. Trevor Immelman won in 2008. Schwartzel became the second South African to win a Major in the last year as Louis Oosthulzen won the 2010 British.
Tiger Woods shot a 67 to finish 10 under, good for a tie for fourth with Geoff Ogilvy and Luuuuuke Donald. Luke had an amazing 18th. He had a very awkward stance on his second shot with one foot almost in the sand and his other leg up above the sand. He hit what looked like a beautiful shot. The ball landed on the green, took a bounce and hit the flag stick caroming back off the front of the green and into the swale below the green. Then Donald proceeded to chip the ball up and in for a birdie. His reaction was classic. He pumped his fist and showed some real emotion as the crowd chanted “Luuuke.”. After the round, he was very classy with Peter Kostis of CBS, saying “I think i came up just a little short.” Luke’s a class guy. You want a guy like that to win a Major.
Tiger shot a front side 31 (5 under) and moved to 10 under for the tourney heading into the back side. After a bogey on 12, a par on 13, which was very disappointing as Woods always birdies the par fives, and a par on 14, Woods hit a beautiful second shot on the par five 15th to four feet. He was putting for eagle and the outright lead. But he missed the putt, as he had been missing putts throughout the tournament. Putting has been his strength for so long, but his putter has left him in the last year. I feel your pain Tiger. I had a very tough putting day myself on Friday in a tournament. It’s very frustrating and it happens. Even to one of the all time greats. Tiger sank his putt for birdie on 15 and was tied for the lead at 10 under, but with four groups behind him he needed to get some more red numbers to compete. He couldn’t do it. And guys like Donald, Scott, Day and, of course, Scwhartzel, really put on a clinic in the last five holes. It was something to watch.
Really feel bad for Rory Mcilroy. The 21-year old was trying to become the second youngest player to win at Augusta after Tiger did it in 1997. But he tripled 10 and went downhill from there. Ten was just painful to watch. He pull hooked his tee shot into the houses way off the left side of the fairway. And it went downhill from there as he hit it out into the fairway and then hooked it into jail on the left rough of the left side of the green with a bunch of trees around him. It took him two chips and three putts to get down from there and it never got any better.. From 11 under to 8 under and two shots back. He had a four shot lead going into Sunday after an outstanding round on Saturday. He just lost it after 10. He finished with an 80. He’s 21 so there is a lot of time left, but like football and baseball players say, if you get to the Super Bowl or World Series in your first two years you think it’s easy. But then you never get back. It’s very hard and with so many great players on the Tour–a lot of them in their 20′s–there’s no guarantee McIlroy will be in that position again. He’s got a great game, but he hasn’t broken through yet. One Major might propel him to multiple Majors, but you never know. He seems like the kind of kid who will bounce back, but this could stick with him for a while. We’ll see.
Schwartzel looks like a guy who could win some more Majors. He’s got a beautiful swing and he’s an excellent putter. He has the mental makeup, too. South Africa has produced some great golfers over the years. The veterans Ernie Els (three Majors: two U.S. Opens and a British) and Retief Goosen (two U.S. Opens), Player, of course, who won nine Majors and is one of the greatest of all time, Louis last year in the British was dominant and now Charl Schwartzel.
The foreign players have dominated the Majors lately. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell won the U.S. last year at Pebble, Louis won the British at St. Andrews, Martin Kaymer won the PGA at Whistling Straights (Wisconsin) and now Charl. Phil’s not getting any younger and neither is Tiger. Tiger will really have to work on his putting if he wants to get it back together and win a Major this year and get closer to Jack’s record of 18. Tiger has 14. The U.S. Open will be at Congressional in Bethesda, Md. this year, the British will be at Royal St. George’s in England and the PGA will be at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Tiger has a lot of golf left in him. Phil is still playing very good golf at 40, and Tiger is 35 and is in great shape, so he could play well for another 10 years if he takes care of himself and still has the desire. There are young Americans like Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler and Anthony Kim who have a chance to win Majors. Guys like Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar have great games.
But right now it’s the Europeans and the South Africans who are dominating. The Asians are pretty tough, too. Guys like Ryo Ishikawi and now HIdeki Matsuyama, the low Amateur at the Masters, will be factors in the coming years. K.J. Choi can still play well at 41 and Y.E. Yang has the game and the mental toughness to win some more Majors.
Maybe an American can get it back at Congressional. Some pretty good golf before the U.S, though with the Players in May. The Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow in Charlotte in May, the Colonial and Byron Nelson in May in Texas and the Memorial in June. It’s just getting cranked up and it’s going to be an exciting season with some young phenoms and some talented veterans competing for titles.Golf / Comments (0) / make a comment