2013 Masters Leaderboard: Breaking Down What Went Wrong for Game's Top Stars
One of the most popular Masters winners in recent memory is quietly overshadowing the struggle of some of the game's top stars.
Not only did Adam Scott get redemption from last year's infamous collapse at the British Open by conquering Angel Cabrera in a two-hole playoff at Augusta, but he became the first Australian ever to win a major, transforming himself into a national hero.
The newest owner of the green jacket is both a heart-warming and inspirational champion, and as such, is rightfully conquering the headlines.
But that's hiding the fact that Phil Mickelson—who never struggles at the Masters—struggled. Rory McIlroy, the game's brightest young star, collapsed on the weekend—again. Defending champ Bubba Watson had just one round under par and a historic meltdown on Sunday.
Let's take a look at what went wrong with some of golf's most popular players this week.
Final Leaderboard (courtesy of PGATour.com)
Rory McIlroy: +2, Tied for 25th
On the surface, a 25th-place finish isn't so bad for McIlroy.
But after entering the weekend at two-under-par with a legitimate chance to make a run at the leaders, the World No. 2 should have finished higher.
However, his ability to put together four complete rounds at Augusta, which has plagued him the last two years, once again hindered his chances at earning his first green jacket.
Last year, McIlroy entered the weekend four-under, but he shot a dreadful 153 (+9) on Saturday and Sunday. In 2011, he was in contention heading into the final day, but his infamous 80 quickly put a resounding end to that.
This year, it was Saturday that did him in. McIlroy was one-under through six holes and looking like a real threat, but he then went bogey, par, bogey, par, triple-bogey, par, par, par, double-bogey, bogey on his next 10 holes to completely eliminate himself from contention. He finished with a 42 on the second nine and 79 on the day.
A 69 on Sunday was impressive, but it was far too late. If McIlroy is going to continue his ascent as the golf world's next legend, he's going to have to learn to keep it together on the weekend at the Masters.
Bubba Watson: +7, Tied for 50th
If you take away Watson's nightmarish 10 on the par-three 12th on Sunday, he still would have only finished in a tie for 18th, which is hardly something to write home about for the defending champion.
Most notably, it was Watson's short game that left plenty to be desired this week.
In four rounds of golf, he three-putted (or more) an astounding seven times, compared to the field average of just 2.80. His 1.64 putts per hole was also near the bottom of the barrel.
Watson has one of the most powerful, awe-inspiring drives on tour, and he was accurate enough in hitting his fairways this week, but when you can't make putts, it makes it incredibly difficult to win.
Phil Mickelson: +9, Tied for 54th
Who had the most disappointing week?
After two top-10 finishes in 1995 and 1996, Mickelson missed the Masters cut in '97. Since then, his finishes have gone as follows:
T12, T6, T7, 3, 3, 3, 1, 10, 1, T24, T5, 5, 1, T27, T3. That's three wins, 12 top-10 finishes and just two finishes outside the top 20 in the last 15 years.
So what went wrong this year for the historically dominant Mickelson?
It's difficult to say. Lefty hit more greens and fairways than average, and while his putting wasn't terrific, it wasn't abominable, either. According to the veteran himself, it was more of an anomaly than anything else (via the Chicago Tribune's Brian Hamilton):
I just had an off year, I don't know what to tell you. I played poorly. Butch (Harmon) and I we had some good direction and I'll have something to work on these next two weeks before I play at (the Wells Fargo Championship) and The Players (Championship).
I just wasn't as mentally sharp as I need to be, and I've got to find another way to get ready for big events if I'm not able to compete the week before.
Many might point to Mickelson's age (42), but I'd chalk this one up to a random deviation from the norm. Don't be surprised when the veteran is back in contention next year.
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