Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2011 Masters - Rory McIlroy tied for the lead

The first round of The Masters Golf Tournament is in the books and what a day it has been. I watched an unusual amount of Pre-Masters coverage this week and there were plenty of storylines. Mickelson, Woods, Nicklaus got a lot of the headlines. One guy who did not get a lot of attention was Rory McIlroy. Of course, why should he? Although he is a young, talented, exciting player, he has only been to The Masters twice before today. The analysts told us several times this week that the past winners averaged six Masters Tournaments before putting on the Green Jacket. Since this is McIlroy’s third trip it would be unusual to see him win for sure. Of course, another young player won his third time around at Augusta, you may have heard of him – Tiger Woods.

So, will the young lad continue his good play? Will he make a run at winning the 2011 Masters Tournament? Will he wilt under the pressure or hang in there until the back nine on Sunday?

I have no doubt Rory has the talent to win any golf tournament he enters. He has the length, hits the ball way up in the air, and can move the ball on command. He also knows how to make a lot of birdies down the stretch as he proved last year in winning in Charlotte.

However, Augusta National is not your average golf course or tour stop. I know we will see a lot of changes to the course over the next three days as the weather heats up and the Superintendent makes changes to the course layout. Even though he has played many practice rounds and has charted the greens, the one thing he cannot prepare for are the conditions. Has McIlroy ever played the course firm and fast? Has he ever played the course at its full length?

If I were a betting man I would say Rory will play a fairly conservative round tomorrow and will likely shoot a couple under par. From there he will be at or near the lead going into the weekend. That is when we will find out what kind of player he has become. At some point he will face a tough stretch of holes or run into to some problems with his game. How he handles those moments will go a long way in determining his end result this week. He is young and relatively inexperienced at Augusta National. In the two previous years that he has played The Masters, I do not think he has seen the course play firm and fast.

Last December in my post titled 2010 Professional Golf Year in Review; Transition, I stated that Rory would dominate the sport within five years. If he does go on to win this year’s Masters that prediction will certainly be fast tracked. Finally, if he does win, I wonder if he’ll be as excited on the 18th green as he looks in the picture below. He just might.

Do you think Rory will hold on to win?

                                                               Source; Robert Beck/SI

1 comment:

  1. Most old pro's have seasoned confidence in their game and most new up and coming talent are gaining confidence day by day. It is great to see "surprises" because that way it is not so boring!

    A "new" lover of golf!