Highlights of the 2011 Masters Tournament

| September 6, 2011

The Masters golf tournament, held every first weekend in April at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, is arguably the greatest golf tournament in the world. Some rank it even higher, among the greatest annual sporting events of our time along with the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl, and the Indy 500. As you watch the 2011 Masters Tournament, presented on DVD by A&E, and see the lush green fairways and the blooming azaleas, and then hear the roars and cheers echoing down through the Georgia pines, you start to understand why.
The Masters is a magical event that every professional golfer dreams of winning. They all tell stories of watching the greats of the past, like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, win the prestigious tournament. They play as children, slipping on their fathers’ suit coats and pretending it is the coveted Green Jacket, awarded every year to the winner. This was once again the case with the players in 2011.
Among those players, three stand out as the greatest storylines of the year. First, the ever present Tiger Woods. Coming off nearly 18 months of personal struggles and injuries, he had returned to Augusta National hoping to restart a new career. He played strong rounds of golf and when he sank an eagle putt on the par five 8th hole on Sunday afternoon, he brought back roars in the crowd that are reserved only for the legends of golf. He posted a front nine score of 31, tying for the lead but would fall short on the back nine and wind up in 4th place.
The second player, who’s story is probably the most memorable from the 2011 Masters, is Rory McIlroy. Barely 21 years old, Rory had already been amazing crowds and just last summer had fallen just short of becoming one of the youngest ever winners of the British Open. He held the lead in the 2011 Masters at the end of each of the first three days and started the final day, the special Sunday at the Masters, with a 4 shot lead. He would keep that lead for only 31 minutes, as early bogeys and an early eagle from our final storyline yet to come, erased his early cushion.
Then Rory came to the difficult 10th hole. It plays as one of the toughest holes in all of golf and it came alive on Sunday afternoon to swallow Rory’s dreams of winning. Nerves got to Rory has he hit his tee shot way left, amongst cabins that most TV viewers didn’t know existed. He would end up making a triple bogey, taking 7 shots that bounced off trees and screamed across the green. This was the beginning of his final round score of 80, which left him with no chance to win. He went from the favorite to win to one of the greatest chokes in the history of sports in just seven shots. Fifteen minutes on a Sunday afternoon was all it took.
Charl Schwartzel, though, would not let the nerves crush his hopes of putting the Green Jacket around his shoulders. Teeing off just before Rory, the South African holed out his second shot from the fairway on the 3rd hole for eagle and erased his young competitor’s lead. He would then play steady golf and watch players like Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, and Jason Day move up the leaderboard. Then Charl caught fire and put on the most impressive showing of golf that year at Augusta National.
It’s long been said that the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday, and Charl Schwartzel couldn’t agree more. As the greatest players in the world were sending echoing cheers all across the golf course, Charl made birdies on the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th holes to secure his victory in a way no other golfer had ever done before: with birdies the last four holes of The Masters. Few people knew his name as the tournament began early Thursday morning, but by sunset Sunday afternoon, he was wearing that Green Jacket and remembering all those times he had dreamt this before as a child.
Among all these great stories, A&E, along with the footage from CBS and in partnership with Augusta National Golf Club, presents the 2011 Masters on DVD brilliantly. They share all the traditions of the Masters, from the par 3 tournament, to the opening ceremony, with the same elegance and grace of the original broadcast. Jim Nance has covered this tournament for many years, and he narrates the DVD with the same passion and excitement.
It’s a great introduction to the tournament for any new golf fans and one that will make you want to watch the 2012 Masters live on television. It is truly a remarkable event, one that I set aside time to watch every spring, and A&E’s presentation of the 2011 Masters makes me wish winter would come and go so I can see those azaleas in bloom again and hear the roars of Augusta.

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