I’ll be honest. I was really rooting for Adam Scott to win the Masters. Mostly because a) I wanted to use the headline “Great Scott!!!”, b) he could have single-handedly made long putters cool and c) I don’t have any pictures of Charl Schwartzel to post. So instead I’m using a picture of Rick Moranis from Spaceballs, because he definitely knows the “Power of the Schwartz(el)”.
Schwartzel earned his victory at the 2011 Masters. He was 1-behind Adam Scott, who looked destined to finally break through with a victory in a major. But with 4 to play Schwartzel reeled off 4 straight birdies to get to 14-under, 2-strokes ahead of Scott and Jason Day. That included an amazingly confident birdie putt on 17, which I believe was only the 5th birdie there all day.
Schwartzel was on many people’s “Dark Horse” lists for the Masters. After winning twice and finishing 8th on the European Tour Order of Merit last year, he joined the PGA Tour for 2011. He chose one heck of a tournament to grab his first PGA Tour victory, becoming only the 3rd South African to win the Masters (Gary Player, Trevor Immelman).
Tiger Woods was the early clubhouse leader at 10-under but several missed putts on the back 9 (sound familiar?) kept him from contending once Scott surged into the lead at 11-under. Still, his Sunday 67 was a great response to his 74 on Saturday. He didn’t quite get it done, but he struck the ball well and showed us all that maybe he really is close to putting it all together.
And well what can we say about Rory McIlroy? He looked like a sure thing when he finished Saturday at 12-under. But he found out the hard way how impressive Tiger Wood’s major performances have been over the years.
It’s often said that there’s “Sunday pressure” in a golf tournament and then there’s “Sunday at Augusta”. That was apparent when McIlroy turned into an 18-handicapper on the 10th and hacked his way to a triple-bogey. He shot a 43 on the back nine to card an 80 for the day, finishing T15.
He’s young though and handled everything with class. Hopefully he’ll be able to build on this experience and come back stronger than ever.
Ultimately this was one of the most exciting Master’s finishes in years. Normally there’s only one or two guys who really have a shot at winning on Sunday afternoon. With 9 holes to play, the tournament was wide open, and Schwartzel was the player that stepped up, executed, and walked away with a green jacket. May the Schwartz(el) be with you.