Masters Countdown: Where are all the closers at?
Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy, and Bubba Watson have struggled at times to close out tournaments in 2014.
Remember when Tiger Woods was banging out seven or eight wins with regularity in a PGA Tour season?
The formula was simple for Woods: go grab a 54-hole lead and shut the thing down on Sunday. Leave no doubt, just crush dudes' souls.
There has been nothing of the like to be found in the last few months of the PGA Tour.
A quick recap:
Bubba Watson frittered away a third-round lead with a 71 to Kevin Stadler's 68 and missed a six-foot putt badly on the final hole to lose by one. Stadler was ranked No. 121
Rory McIlroy couldn't tighten the noose on a third-round lead at the Honda Classic and shot 74 to lose in a playoff to Russell Henley. Henley was ranked No. 109
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Adam Scott sat on the 54-hole lead but shot a 76 on Sunday to give the tournament to Matt Every. Every was ranked No. 94.
Matt Kuchar didn't hold the 54-hole lead but he shot 75 on Sunday and let somebody who shot a 76 win the tournament. A 76! Steven Bowditch was ranked No. 336 (!) at the time.
Matt Kuchar was running away with the tournament in the final round but bogeyed two of his final three holes and lost in a playoff to Matt Jones. Jones was ranked No. 88.
The flip side of this is that these guys can say at least they're putting themselves in position to win, unlike our certain red-clad superhero from the last two decades.
But still, all of this Sunday madness has led to a boatload of new winners and this wild stat:
You have to think that without Tiger and with all the parity that's been traveling the PGA Tour circuit like a virus, this is the most open Masters in decades.
Rory McIlroy thinks so.
"I don't think it's just the Masters but golf in general is just very wide open at the moment, and I think a few guys need to sort of put their hands up and try and be, you know, the dominant players in this game because that's what people like to see."
We rarely see golfers who don't have any experience in majors like most of these guys win at Augusta and I don't think that changes this week.
But McIlroy is right, the real stars need to stand up and carry this thing, at least until Woods returns.
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