As we have always done after every major championship, here’s the report card on some of the leading players based on their performance in last week’s Masters at Augusta National:
– Different Strokes: Woods' Masters siege could become pivotal moment
Because we can’t give him an 11, we will give him a 10. In a Masters that was replete with heroic efforts, the 21-year-old Texan was truly the standout performer.
The fact that he matched the lowest 72-hole score of 18-under par to win his first green jacket, or that he set a new record of 28 birdies – which is more than a birdie every three holes – is secondary to the poise and mental fortitude he showed all week.
When he led on Sunday last year before finishing second to Bubba Watson, we knew he had the game to master Augusta one day.
And yet, to do that within a year and in such all-conquering fashion, only goes to show how special a player he really is.
T2: 70-68-67- 69-274 (-14)
We have put the 44-yearold slightly ahead of Justin Rose, even though they finished on the same score. While they’ve both been struggling, Mickelson’s poor form goes back 16 months and, unlike the Englishman, he had an immense weight of expectation on his shoulders because of his record at Augusta, where he has won three green jackets before.
Mickelson has had just one top- 10 finish in 31 starts after the 2014 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and that stretch included a rare missed cut at the Masters last year. For him to turn things around in such fine fashion was an outstanding effort.
T2: 67-70-67- 70-274 (-14)
Much like Mickelson, the 34-year-old Englishman had also been facing a crisis of form, although it wasn’t as bad as Lefty’s. Rose, the 2013 US Open champion, has had a terrible start to 2015, with not even one top-10 finish in seven starts. Also, he did not have the best track record in the tournament, with just one top-five finish – a tied fifth place in 2007.
As usual, Rose’s ball-striking was immaculate, as he found 54 greens in regulation during the tournament – third best in the field.
4th: 71-71-68- 66-276 (-12)
It was McIlroy’s career best finish in the Masters and fourth was definitely outstanding after it looked like he’d miss the cut halfway through his second round on Friday. But the world No1 went about the back nine in 31, and then shot 10-under par over the weekend. That was a phenomenal performance from the Northern Irishman, and it is just a reflection of the standards he has set recently that fans are viewing a fourth place finish as a failure.
5th: 71-70-70-66-277 (-11)
What should not be lost between all the hype of clash of two youngsters and the talk of rivalry between the 25-year-old McIlroy and the 21-year-old Spieth, is that Matsuyama is only 23, and has a game that is good enough to give anybody a run for their money.
T17: 73-69-68-73-283 (-5)
If our rating for Woods for finishing tied 17th seems too magnanimous, it is because we surely did not expect the fourtime champion to even make it to the weekend, such was the state of his game because of injury and lack of form.
T6: 73-72-67-67-279 (-9)
The tied sixth place was Poulter’s career best effort at the Masters, and considering he hit 59 greens in regulation out of 72 – five more than eventual champion Spieth – it clearly shows that the mercurial Englishman is slowly getting back into some good form after a terrible 2014 season.
T19: 73-73-70-68-284 (-4)
We are following the same principle with Stenson as we did with Woods. Tied 19th place would have been woeful for the world No2 (before the Masters week), but considering the terrible bout of ’flu before the tournament, which drained all the energy from him and forced him to pull out of the Shell Houston Open, playing four days and battling hard was a great effort from the Swede.
T38: 71-71-73-74-289 (+1)
The week did not start too well for the defending champion, who was named as the most disliked player on the Tour by his fellow professionals, and it did not get any better as it progressed with the weekend being particularly bad by his standards.
T38: 72-69-74-74-289 (+1)
A lot more was expected from the 2013 champion, especially as he had been preparing throughout the opening part of the season with this particular tournament in mind. His worst finish in his last eight majors.
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