Schwartzel surges to titleThe finishing touch of a most amazing Masters was Charl Schwartzel slipping into a green jacket. Until that moment late Sunday afternoon, everything else at Augusta National was up for grabs. The roars came from everywhere, for everyone, and never stopped.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The finishing touch of a most amazing Masters was Charl Schwartzel slipping into a green jacket. Until that moment late Sunday afternoon, everything else at Augusta National was up for grabs.
The roars came from everywhere, for everyone, and never stopped.
Tiger Woods made up a seven-shot deficit in nine holes — too bad it was the front nine. Geoff Ogilvy ran off five straight birdies. Rory McIlroy matched the greatest collapse in Masters history with a stretch of holes not even Greg Norman would want to watch.
It was so wild that eight players had at least a share of the lead on the back nine.
Schwartzel emerged from all this madness with a magical touch of his own. He became the first Masters champion in its 75-year history to finish with four straight birdies, giving him a 6-under 66 for the best final round by a winner in 22 years.
The green jacket ceremony wasn’t so much a celebration as a chance for everyone to catch their breath.
“There’s so many roars that go on around Augusta,” Schwartzel said. “Especially the back nine. It echoes through those trees. There’s always a roar. Every single hole you walk down, someone has done something. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking at the leaderboard.”
At times, it was nearly impossible to keep up.
There was a five-way lead at the top at one point, and only the final hour sorted it all out.
There was the fist-pumping charge by Tiger Woods that was slowed by two putts he missed from inside 4 feet. There was Luke Donald, dumping his tee shot into the pond at No. 12 only to make four birdies over the last six holes, chipping in on the last one.
And then there was McIlroy, whose 80 in the final round might be remembered as much for the classy way he handled it all.
“It’s never nice to be leading a tournament and do what I did today,” McIlroy said.
Woods’ red shirt looked a little brighter. He walked a little taller. And the cheers kept coming.
The biggest boom from the gallery came on the par-5 eighth, when Woods knocked in an eagle putt to reach 10 under and tie for the lead.
There was no mistaking that sound, or who it was for.
Over the next few minutes, more cheers could be heard from all corners of Augusta each time Woods’ score was posted on a leaderboard. He still had the back nine to play, and momentum was on his side.
Not for long, though.
He missed a 3-foot par putt on the 12th, failed to birdie the par-5 13th with a 7-iron for his second shot. Then, after twirling his 7-iron with a shot so pure it settled 4 feet away on the par-5 15th, he missed the 4-foot eagle putt.
Woods closed with a 67, his best final round ever here. But he shot a 36 on the back nine, and that doesn’t win the Masters, certainly not this one.
“I got off to a nice start there and posted 31,” he said. “And then on the back nine, could have capitalized some more.”
Which shot would he like to have back?
“Oh, we can’t do that,” Woods said. “We do that every week and we would go crazy, wouldn’t we?”