What Each 2014 Masters Disappointment Must Do to Bounce Back Quickly
After the anticipation of making the drive down Magnolia Lane and the excitement and stress of playing in the Masters comes the inevitable: disappointment.
There is only one winner; this year, it's Bubba Watson. Most of the others in the field walk away with serious disappointment, especially those who were in the hunt on Sunday afternoon.
Disappointment can be a great motivator, or it can lead to a tailspin, even with the great players.
Here's a list of some disappointed players from Sunday and some suggestions as to how they can bounce back quickly.
Jordan Spieth is doing exactly what he should do following his failed Masters run: getting right back in the saddle.
Spieth made the three-hour ride from Augusta to Hilton Head Island, S.C., Monday and he'll tee it up in the RBC Heritage Thursday morning. A lot of players would shut it down as a result of the disappointment of having a two-shot lead nearly halfway through the final round of the Masters.
This 20-year-old has that superstar look and played like one at Augusta National.
Don't be surprised if he contends this week.
It sure looked like Adam Scott had put himself in position to make a serious defense of his 2013 title when he righted a bad round Friday afternoon to get back to three under par.
But that was about as good as it was going to get.
“It's not been my best week with the putter. My pace was off on the long putts," he said in a story by Jason Sobel on golfchannel.com. "And when it gets on fire around here, you're going to have a lot of long putts."
Scott has had successes with his long putter and anchored putting stroke. But he's also had failures, too.
Like the other elite players, Scott tailors his schedule around the major championships. Unlike a lot of players, he has a green jacket in his closet. That helps ease this week's disappointment.
He'll just keep practicing with the long stick and hope it's hot at Pinehurst for the U.S. Open.
McIlroy went from betting favorite to being happy to finish in the top 10 (T8) in the Masters.
For those who have judged the former No. 1 player to have been "back," this is solid evidence that's not totally the case.
His putting was the sore spot again, as Rex Hoggard quoted McIlroy in a golfchannel.com story.
"Hopefully I can start seeing a few more putts go in, and get more confidence,” McIlroy said.
If, as McIlroy said, he was really good tee-to-green at Augusta National, then he needs to get to the putting green and wear the grooves off his putter.
Very few major championships have ever been won by bad putters.
That seems a bit hasty, especially since Woods will be an unknown quantity when he returns to action.
And Mickelson, well, he really qualifies as a great unknown.
He almost predicted his own doom prior to the Masters when he said he was nervous about his game and how he'd react under pressure.
Mickelson told espn.go.com's Bob Harig, "What I've been nervous about is having a hole like 7 yesterday, a hole like 12 today, where I go along, making pars, putting the ball in the right spot and you just get a bad situation," he said, referring to the triple bogeys he made Thursday and Friday. "And I end up letting instead of one sliding, two or three are going away.
At age 43, Mickelson finds himself in a heck of a spot. He doesn't play a lot because he pinpoints the majors. And because of physical ailments (the most recent of which was a pulled oblique muscle that he said didn't bother him), he doesn't practice as much.
And when he doesn't practice as much, he's not sharp.
Seems pretty simple that the answer is for him to get healthy and get out on the range more, assuming he still has the drive to win more majors.
It's almost gotten to the point where you could start feeling bad for a guy like Matt Kuchar.
Always smiling, always cooperating, this 35-year-old former U.S. Amateur champion seems like the ultimate nice guy.
The man has won six times on the PGA Tour, has earned over $26 million but hasn't won a major championship.
He was right there in the hunt again Sunday but finished in a T5.
Looking through the Masters statistical summary, Kuchar once again did a lot of good things. Two things ultimately hurt him. He only made seven birdies on the par fives, and that's where many Masters champions have feasted in the past.
And he averaged 1.61 putts, which is far too close to two putts per hole. He'll look back with great angst at the fourth green on Sunday when he four-putted.
Don't worry about Kuchar bouncing back soon. He'll be at Harbour Town Golf Links this week, playing well and making money.
In two of the previous three Masters, Jason Day posted top-five finishes and was regarded as a favorite coming into the 2014 Masters.
But optimism about those chances was dimmed somewhat by a nagging thumb injury suffered in February.
In reality, Day did some good things at Augusta National. He also did some not so good things, especially in his open-round 75.
He made 11 birdies in 16 cracks at Augusta's par fives. His driving distance average was good at 292.88.
What kept him from making any kind of run, by his own admission, was the short game.
"I feel like I hit it well enough to contend this week and just didn’t capitalize on the greens," Day said in a story in Herald Sun of Australia. “It just seems like I just need a little bit more hard work on the putting, short game, and should be good to go.
Day is one of the game's young stars when healthy, and that includes his short game.
When Henrik Stenson went crazy in the last half of the 2013 season and won what seemed like everything in sight, expectations were that big things could happen for him in 2014. Big things like a major championship, perhaps.
But Stenson's not been able to replicate the form he had from a year ago.
At Augusta, he hit 65.28 percent of the greens, drove it an average of 295.62 yards and hit almost 70 percent of his fairways.
With numbers like that, it seems odd that he didn't do better than a T14.
But it's easy to see what hampered Stenson at the Masters. He averaged 1.72 putts and three-putted five times.
With numbers like that, it's tough to win. He definitely needs to work on that putting before he appears next in a PGA Tour event.