Monday, April 11, 2011

What the 2011 Masters Taught Us


The 2011 Masters are behind us, but there are still a few things to wrap up before we move on to the next event, or the next major, or the next champion. Here are some things the 2011 Masters taught us all, and what we can take from it for upcoming tournaments.

-- Winning a major championship is hard. Really hard. If you don't believe me, give one of the most talented players in the WORLD a four-shot lead and watch it dwindle away like it was you or me out there. As much as we talk about the winner of the Masters coming out of the final group so many times, look at the last five majors and see the winner coming out of the final group just once, at that was the British Open. It's hard to maintain a lead, and it is even harder to maintain your nerves when a few short putts don't drop. Kuddos to Rory McIlroy for the way he handled it after the round ended on Sunday, because he sure could have brushed off the media and nobody would have thought twice about it.

-- Tiger Woods isn't going to win another tournament, much less a major, if he continues to miss short putts. Sorry, but that is the truth.

-- You might not have heard of Charl Schwartzel, but you should have; he was 29th in the world, and had finished in the top-20 in three majors in 2010. Also, he nearly won the CA Championship a year ago, finishing second to Ernie Els. This guy is no flash in the pan, and expect to see his name at the top of big tournaments for years to come, especially with the confidence he has going right now.

-- Also, along the same lines as the last one, why must we jump to conclusions about players right after they win majors? "Is Charl going to be a one-and-done type player?" Hey, if he is, so what! Name players that have won two major championships, and I'll most likely find you their name in the Hall of Fame. Winning one major is tough enough, but to win two? That's serious. Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Craig Stadler, Jim Furyk, David Duval, Davis Love III, Ken Venturi, Justin Leonard, Tom Lehman ... all these guys claimed just one major, so don't think just because you haven't heard of the guy, he isn't going to win another, and even if he doesn't, he still made his career on Sunday at Augusta.

-- Angel Cabrera is a serious player, and if he played in more PGA Tour events, he'd probably be the Player of the Year once every couple of years. The guy seems to play big in big events.

-- We can chat all we want about McIlroy, Fowler, Ishikawa and the likes, but Jason Day might be the best of the young bunch. His close at Augusta on Sunday, with birdies on 17 and 18, is stuff of legends, and if not for Charl two-upping him with the closing birdies, we might be talking about Day right now instead of Schwartzel.

-- The Masters is the best week of the year in the golf world, and it was shown this Sunday. Man, I can't wait until 2012.

Getty Images

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