RotoWire Partners

Golf Barometer: Fallout from the Masters

David Ferris

David Ferris

Ferris covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire. He is an award-winning sports writer and a veteran fantasy columnist. He also is a scratch golfer.

The Masters had us captivated for four days; now we try to figure out what it all means.

UPGRADE

Charl Schwartzel:
It's not like the Masters win came out of nowhere; he's already got six European Tour victories at the tender age of 26, and Schwartzel made the cut in all four majors last year (T30, T16, T14, T18). Welcome to the big time, kid. He's going to win multiple majors in his career, probably three or four.

Adam Scott:
It seems odd to see a long putter from such a young player, but at least Scott is comfortable using the wand. No one thought much when he logged a T6 at the WGC-Cadillac in early March, but it turned out to be a sign of things to come. Watch out at The Players next month, an event Scott has won.

Fred Couples:
Sore back, lack of play, age, it doesn't matter when Couples heads down Magnolia Lane (T15 last week; 25-of-27 checks over the years). He's still got the best fairway gait in the history of modern golf.

Luke Donald:
He backed up the Par-3 victory with a snappy T4 in the main event, and it's encouraging to see Donald contend in a tournament better suited toward the long players. He has an excellent chance to break through at one of the tight-course majors.

K.J. Choi:
He left some shots on the course in the final round, but mostly Choi reminded us that he's a steely competitor in the most pressurized of moments - nothing seems to faze him. Remember, Choi played four rounds with Tiger Woods last year - when Woods was making his first return after his layoff - and matched him shot-for-shot, never looking worse for wear. If only we all could be so cool under fire.

Sunday Intrigue:
It was refreshing to see a true horserace at the Masters on Sunday and a winner to come from outside the final pairing. It's just the second time in 21 years that someone has taken the green jacket without being in Sunday's final group.

DOWNGRADE

Martin Kaymer:
Maybe he's the best player in the world anywhere else, but he still hasn't figured out Augusta. He's made four starts here and hasn't made the cut yet.

Phil Mickelson:
We're not going to give Mickelson any kind of a long-term downgrade, but we have to at least slap him on the wrist for doing so little here after entering as the clear favorite. His ball striking wasn't right all week, and he didn't have the typical Houdini magic around the greens (Augusta is merciless if you're not landing your ball in the proper areas).

Retief Goosen:
His body just doesn't look right at the moment, and you could really see that during Friday's 78. At least he came to the event and made the best of it, bully for him.

Mike Weir:
If there's any reason for optimism here, it's past me. A 76-79 slammed the trunk for the former champ, and he's made just one cut in 2011. Fantasy owners are ready to slam something as well.

HOLDING STEADY

Rory McIlroy:
He lost his way Sunday, and then an airline lost his golf clubs of all things on the flight back. Good grief. But McIlroy said all the right things after the final-round meltdown, and he's too talented - and too confident - to let this weekend scar his career significantly. The kid will be fine.

Tiger Woods:
The rebuilt swing looked super all week; his ball striking was sublime on Sunday. But a spotty putter did Tiger in, especially on the back nine of the final round, and we saw some medium and short misses the younger Woods never would have botched. Encouraged? You have to be. But remember, Augusta National is as tailor-made a track as there is for Woods. He'll face steeper challenges in the other majors.

Jason Day:
Super talent, super run into a tie for second. He's going to be heard from for a long time. But here's what golf desperately does not need - another major talent with a dreadfully-long pre-shot routine. Keep it moving, kid.