Will Bubba suffer from the Masters hangover?
A quick look at past winners of the green jacket shows it takes some time before they find the winner's circle again
Published on Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2012 10:28AM EDT
MASTERS HANGOVER?: Bubba Watson plays for the first time this week since winning the Masters. It’s certain he’ll come under much more scrutiny in the weeks and months ahead than he did a year ago when he won the New Orleans event he’ll defend this week. Here’s hoping he doesn’t suffer from a post-Masters hangover. Last year, after winning the Zurich Classic, Watson had just one top-20 finish in 12 events - a tie for 16th at The Barclays. (There was the Presidents Cup victory and a T6 at the silly-season Chevron event).
As ESPN’s Justin Ray notes, the first event post-Masters win, has not been kind to those with a green jacket in their wardrobe.
Since 1986, only once has a player won on tour in their first start following a win at Augusta. That was Tiger Woods in 1997, who won the Byron Nelson in his first start back, five weeks after winning the Masters.
Only eight of the 26 champions in that span even finished in the top 10 in their first subsequent PGA Tour start, and five of those guys were named either Woods or Phil Mickelson. There have been nearly as many missed cuts by the group (four) as top-five finishes (six).
In fact, Ray’s research shows it could be a while before we see Bubba blubbering on the 18th green anytime soon.
Three of the past four Masters winners haven't won on the PGA Tour since being awarded the green jacket: Charl Schwartzel, Angel Cabrera and Trevor Immelman. Of the nine in the group since 2000 who have won since, it took an average of 14.7 PGA Tour starts to get back to another trophy ceremony on the PGA Tour.
NOT SO WIESY: It's been a tough start to 2012 for Michelle Wie. She has played 13 of 14 rounds over par and has not broken 75 in her last 10 rounds. She has also missed the cut in three straight LPGA tournaments for only the second time in her career and the first time in a half-decade. Not helping her cause is the fact that she ranks 109th in Greens In Regulation, 132nd in Putts per Greens In Regulation and 141st in Driving Accuracy.
FOOTSTEPS: New Zealand's record-breaking teen Lydia Ko says she plans to avoid the mistakes her idol, Michelle Wie, made when she turns pro.
“I think she's amazing but I don't exactly want to go the way she did,” the 15-year-old says in an interview with AFP.
“She became pro really early and she decided to do school work at the same time, which is two hard things to do. She also played a few men's tournaments on the men's tees as well. So she went a bit of a different direction to what I want to do, although she is my idol.”
Ko, currently the number one ranked amateur in the world, has set a goal of turning pro on the LPGA Tour in two years time and she would like to go to school in the United States, which she says allows students to leave for periods of time in order to concentrate on their sporting careers.
Ko's interest in golf started at age five, when she was given a putter and a seven-iron by an aunt. Four years later, aged just nine, she played the New Zealand amateur championship, and she won her first national title aged 11.
At 12, Ko finished tied seventh in the New Zealand Women's Open, five shots behind winner Laura Davies. Last year, she missed victory at the NSW Open by a single stroke and became the youngest ever world number one amateur.
Thanks to her exploits, she already has a professional ranking of 159, and will play about half-a-dozen pro events in the coming months along with this year's top amateur tournaments.
“One of my goals is to play the Olympics in 2016. If you're able to represent your country in the Olympics everyone will understand you as a player and not many people do get to go to the Olympics,” she said. “I think everyone will be happy at home if I win a medal. Everyone will be off their chairs. But it's going to be hard to get a medal, there's quite a few players and the top players in the world.”
FRIENDLY FOES: Did playing with friend Sergio Garcia on the Saturday at Augusta assist in Rory McIlroy’s Masters downfall? While Garcia can’t be blamed entirely for McIlroy’s third round 77 which all but killed his chances of a green jacket, fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell thinks it was unfortunate the two were paired together.
"When you are playing with a friend and you both start to go low, you can drag each other along for sure. But the fact that they are both out there playing badly, good pals, hugging as we saw, having a bit of a man-grab on the 12th green together, it was all a little bit too fun for a Saturday in a major championship,” McDowell told Golf Channel’s Morning Drive show recently.
“If Rory had gone out there with someone he might not have known so well, he might not have kind of got dragged down the way he did in the end.”
“Come Sunday, when he was playing with me, I felt right from the off that Rory wasn’t up for the day and really just wanted to get himself out of Augusta. He realised that his race had been run and he felt like a man who couldn’t wait to get out of the state of Georgia that day.”
IS SHE, ISN'T SHE: It didn't take long for the topic of Virginia Rometty's Augusta membership to come up at the IBM shareholder meeting on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg News.
“I’m certainly very happy about our CEO and be anxious to know if she’s a member of Augusta?” came the first question from the floor from an unidentified male shareholder, who quickly added that “No response is required.”
Rometty's status as a member of Augusta made headlines at golf's first major earlier this month as women have never been admitted as members of the Georgia golf club. That created a conundrum for the club as past IBM CEO's have all been admitted as members.
As the room filled with laughter following the question, Chairman Sam Palmisano took Rometty off the hook by thanking the gentleman for the "very kind comment" before adding, "We were all curious as to when that would come up. But thank you again. Can I have another question please?”
“Michelle has really got to re-prove herself. It’s time for her to make a plan, to really get structured now. If she’s going to fulfill her vast potential, she’s really got to get structured. It’s going to be interesting to see how she accepts the challenge.” - David Leadbetter, swing coach for Michelle Wie
Files from AFP and Bloomberg News were used in this report