South African Charl Schwartzel held off a cast of contenders en route to claiming the 2011 US Masters at August this morning. The South African won his first major title, finishes two strokes in front of Aussie duo Adam Scott and Jason Day.
In what was one of the more stunning and enthralling PGA Masters in recent history, Schwartzel birded the last four holes at the famous Augusta National, eclipsing the field.
The 2011 Augusta Masters are now in the rearview mirror, but it has shed some valuable light on the events, that will shape the 2011 season and beyond.
The Youth Movement
One thing that is for certain after witnessing a truly brilliant tournament, is that the future is definitely now for the young stars of golf.
Nine golfers that finished in the top twenty are 30 years of age, or under.
Runner up, Australian Jason Day, is only 23 years of age. Rory McIlroy – who capitulated over a disastrous final round – led the Masters through the first three rounds, at the tender age of 21.
Even the performance of 19 year-old Japanese starlet, Ryo Ishikawa, showed great signs of things to come finishing two under par, a score good enough for 20th place.
Looking purely on the form shown in the US Masters, Day and McIlroy both certainly appear to have great careers ahead of them, and will be in the fight for many more Green Jackets in the future.
Adam Scott burst onto the golfing scene, after taking out the coveted PGA Players Championship, back in 2004. Since he turned pro in 2000, Scott has claimed 19 tour victories, and reached his highest ever ranking – World Number 3 – in 2007.
However, he has been haunted by inconsistency, especially with his putting game. It was this trouble that led to Scott switching to the “Broomstick” putter, and after his performance over the weekend, the dividends are already clear to see.
If he can carry his play from the 2011 PGA Masters throughout the rest of the season and beyond, Scott will definitely be in Major contention in the future.
Tiger Woods is back
Just in case anyone forgot, Tiger Woods is the most talented human being ever to pick up a golf club.
The front nine of his final round at Augusta National was the perfect example of just how good Tiger Woods can be, as he stormed to the top of the leaderboard with four birdies and an eagle in eight holes.
Woods cooled off somewhat however on the back nine, finishing even over that span.
Yet the fact that Woods was able to bounce back from a horrid third round performance – shooting what was thought to be an tournament killing 74 – proves that after almost two years spent in the golfing wilderness, Woods’ agony won’t last much longer.
His performance will only fuel his confidence, as he resumes his quest to overtaking Jack Nicklaus, as the most successful player in the Major Era.
He currently sits five titles behind Nicklaus, but off the back of his performance over the weekend, it’s hard to see Woods not taking the mantle from Nicklaus.