PGA Tour Confidential: 2011 Masters

Charl Schwartzel, Sunday, 2011 Masters
Robert Beck/SI
Schwartzel broke through for his first major victory this week at the Masters, but will he continue to contend at majors?

Every week of the 2011 PGA Tour season, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group will conduct an e-mail roundtable. Check in on Mondays for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

SCHWARTZEL'S STAYING POWER
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: For starters, Charl. Crazy start with the chip-in on No. 1 and hole out on No. 3, and then an equally impressive finish with four straight birdies. If you follow golf closely, you've been hearing about this guy for years, so is he here to stay, or was this a magical day that he'll be hard-pressed to repeat?

John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: We seem to be having this discussion after every major — McDowell, Oosty, Kaymer, and now Schwartzel. I'll go with my rote answer from 2010. He played like a Hall of Famer, but I'll have to see it again before I pronounce him a world-beater.

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: I think we'll be hearing more from him. He could have gone even lower today as he was burning the edges whenever he wasn't chipping in or holing approach shots. The guy was calm and collected coming home, much more so than the other contenders, and four closing birdies say it all. Plus, you have to love his swing; it's a thing of beauty. So, he has the total package: Length, sharp iron play, great putter, no nerves.

Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Charl is the Trevor Immelman of 2011. He's a great player who had a magical day. So I don't think this win means he's going to win multiple majors or be on the leaderboard every time he plays. I'm looking forward to him playing in the U.S. more.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: It would be pretty hard for anyone to repeat the kind of magic that Charl showed today, but that golf swing is pretty damn impressive. His world just got turned upside down, but he's clearly got talent and can handle pressure.

Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: At 26, Charl should have some staying power. He has the swing, the nerve and the putting stroke. Pretty fierce combo.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: He does seem to have the total package. Have to love how he didn't blink when Adam Scott looked like he was pulling away, in the group right in front of him, to boot.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: His chip-in for birdie on No. 1 and hole-out for eagle on No. 3 may have been a little lucky, but you can't do much better than four straight birdies to close it out. I think we'll continue to hear more from him.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: He's a keeper and will live around the top 20 for a long time, but nobody wins bunches of anything nowadays.

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: We'll be seeing him for years to come. He has one of the best swings in the game, and he's just an all-around solid player. He doesn't have any gaping weaknesses. We haven't heard much about him in the U.S. because this is his first year playing full time on the PGA Tour. He's won six times in Europe, and last year he placed in the top 20 at 3 of 4 majors.

Gorant: Charl and Louis Oosthuizen are countrymen, good buddies, surprise major winners of the last 12 months and about the same age. Who has the greater upside?

Godich: I'll take Charl, because the putting stroke looks that good.

Evans: It's hard to argue against a guy who birdies the last four holes under that kind of pressure.

Garrity: They both looked great in victory, but Oosthuizen's win was a links victory. That's a big deal in my mind, but the kind of golf they only play once a year. Schwartzel's game looks more evergreen to me.

Herre: I also take Schwartzel. In addition to what kind of player he is at this point in time, he has a better pedigree. Schwartzel dominated South African golf much like Ernie Els did a generation earlier.

Dusek: I think it's really impossible to answer this one, but if pressed I'd say Charl because he wasn't a runaway winner like Louis at St. Andrews. Schwartzel lurked, got some luck, and then closed.

Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: To finish like that on this Sunday showed real steel. Charl Schwartzel will be a player to watch at future majors. He'd been showing up on leaderboards in recent majors. Plus, I trust agent Chubby Chandler's eye for talent. He's got a good track record.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: Everyone in the media room was laughing that he was there to congratulate Schwartzel at the end, because Rory was the only client in the hunt that we knew about. Any way you look at it, Chubby wins.

WHAT TO MAKE OF WOODS?
Gorant: Tiger Woods lit up Sunday (I'm predicting an overnight rating of 15 to 17) but shot himself in the foot with uncharacteristic short misses on 12 and 15. Is the Tiger of old back, or is this a new version who can't be relied on to close the door when given the chance?

Lipsey: He gagged when it counted on Saturday and Sunday. Still a great player, but not a force to be feared. Not by a long shot.

Godich: I've been waiting to see how Tiger would respond under the gun, and it sure looked like the pressure got the best of him. First on Saturday, when he had two players ahead of him and shot 74. With nothing to lose on Sunday, he goes out in 31, but look how he responded after he shot to the top of the leaderboard.

Herre: Tiger certainly had his chances. He looked a little stabby on some of those missed putts, which is not a good sign. Also, looked like he may have tweaked his leg/knee/something on the final hole. We'll have to wait and see if that is anything significant.

Gorant: As if he'd actually admit it. We won't know if he's injured until he goes for surgery two years from now.

Ritter: I don't think you'll ever be able to say "he's back," because to me that implies he's going to start winning five or more times per year again. I think those days are done, and this new generation of players will continue to challenge for majors. But is Woods close to winning a tournament again? Hey, he just finished T4 while leaving a lot of shots out there. I think he'll get a W before the summer is over.

Garrity: It's starting to look like a pattern, but Tiger's front nine today was incredible. I think what followed was God demanding further penance.

Charlie Hanger, executive editor, Golf.com: He's clearly not the pressure putter he once was, even when he's hitting the kind of thrilling shots he hit today. That makes me think he'll never again be the cold-blooded closer he once was.

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