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PGA Tour Confidential: 2011 Masters

Rory McIlroy, Sunday, 2011 Masters
Robert Beck/SI
McIlroy made triple bogey at the 10th, ending his chances at Masters glory.

ADAM SCOTT AND THE BROOMSTICK
Gorant: How do you think the traditionalists at Augusta would have felt if Scott and his broomstick had won, and what do we think his prospects are now that he's found a putting stroke? Will he be a top 10 player again?

Morfit: This will be a huge shot of confidence for Scott. That said, I don't think the traditionalists would smile upon the broomstick. Never have.

Dusek: Sooner or later someone is going to win with a long putter, and candidly, I don't think the Augusta folks would care one way or the other. As for Scott himself, we've never questioned his full swing, so if he believes the broomstick can help him on the greens (and obviously it did here) then he can certainly contend anywhere and anytime.

Hanger: I think the traditionalists wouldn't like it, but a bunch of other pros and real-life golfers will be running to the pro shop to buy their own. If it works, more power to him. He could ride that broomstick all the way to the Champions Tour 30 years from now.

Herre: Hard to get overly excited about a young guy with a long putter.

Lipsey: They might love it because many of the geezers (traditionalists) are using long putters.

Garrity: I thought Scott saving par on 17 to protect his lead was as telling as Schwartzel's flurry of birdies, considering how far Adam had fallen. He looked like a hardened veteran down the stretch. Traditionalists may not like his hardware, but they have to like his new backbone.

Evans: What traditionalists? Nobody is showing up on Magnolia Lane with a persimmon wood. Scott would have made a good champion.

Walker: I don't like the long putter either, but if Scott can putt now, look out!

Wei: Today had to have been a huge boost to Scott's confidence, especially on the greens. I was pulling for him. Nice to see his perseverance after going through a rough patch a few years ago. I hope he'll get back in the top 10.

POOR RORY'S COLLAPSE
Gorant: Okay, Rory. Brutal to watch. He's young and learning and all that, but it's hard to believe that next time he's in this spot today's events won't creep into his head. What do we think, future as bright as ever or is there some scar tissue developing? (Especially considering his 80 with the lead at St. Andrews last year.)

Hanger: So hard to watch. It was surreal to see him playing that shot from between the cabins. They didn't even know how to shoot that, he was so far off course. He handled it with great class even though he must be devastated. I think he'll bounce back, win a couple times this year, and be on our short list of major favorites for the foreseeable future. A lot like Dustin Johnson.

Lipsey: Love that he was so polite in the interview. Class act.

Herre: Is Rory the next Tiger, or the next Greg Norman?

Lipsey: He's accumulating scar tissue at a pace that's ahead of where Shark was at age 21, that's for sure.

Godich: He had an excuse at the British (the weather). Maybe we should have seen this coming. As well as he played for three days, he still looked a tad shaky with the putter. And that is where his troubles started today, with short misses at the first, the third and the fifth. He'll rebound from this. Let's not forget that he's only 21.

Evans: Rory would be lucky to be the next Greg Norman, who is an all-time great. There isn't going to be a second-coming of Tiger Woods for another two generations.

Walker: Bright as ever. Rory is still way ahead of the curve. Reminds me of Kobe's air balls in the 1997 playoffs.

Wei: Rory's a class act. How many guys would speak to the press so graciously after a round like that? He handled himself well. I think he'll get over this collapse. It might take some time, but he's not the first. He does need to work on his putting, though. His stroke is still a bit suspect, especially from 5-15 feet.

MICKELSON FADES
Gorant: What happened to Phil? Do you think in retrospect that winning in Houston might have taken too much out of him? He won in Atlanta a week before the 2006 Masters victory, but that warm-up win was a 13-stroke stroll in the park. This was different, no?

Godich: Phil may have been too amped up, even a bit overconfident.

Garrity: On Tuesday, an Augusta Chronicle headline read "It's Lefty's to Lose!" I suspect we're the ones who get too amped up, not Phil.

Evans: Phil didn't have it this week. He did all the things he's done in the past to prepare. He came in with his game peaking. He visited the course early. He just couldn't get on any kind of roll. That's golf.

Herre: Phil was all over the place off the tee. His short game pulled him through to an extent, but he simply couldn't take advantage of his length.

Lipsey: Over the last year and a half, Tiger's won zip and Phil's won twice. Face facts: these guys are no longer stars. In your minds, maybe, but definitely not on paper.

Gorant: They may not be the top two players, but they're still stars. Big difference.

WHERE DOES THIS MASTERS RANK?
Gorant: The green coats seem to have figured out the setup after a few years of overly penal, and dare I say boring, tournaments. It was an incredibly exciting day with a mix of young guys, grizzled vets, fan favorites and dark horses all vying for the lead. So where does this Masters rank for you?

Lipsey: As fun a back nine as I can recall, what with so many guys in the mix to the very end.

Hanger: Great fun to watch, and a surprise ending, but in the end I don't think it'll go down as one of the all-time most memorable.

Godich: Might be the best ever. When else have 10 players had a chance to win on the back nine on Sunday? The only thing lacking was a five-man playoff.

Herre: I thought it was one of the most exciting ever. Every day was full of surprises and plot twists, and the final couple of hours — matchless.

Evans: The 75th Masters demonstrated the parity of the game. The quality of the golf was excellent and the weather had absolutely no impact on the outcome of the tournament. The winner won with four straight birdies. The leader collapsed but in the end gave a very gracious speech. I can't imagine a better script.

Hack: I'd rank it pretty high, but behind the usual suspects of '86, '97 and '04.

RULES CHANGE
Hanger: The USGA and R&A announced a change on Thursday morning, just in time for the Masters. Because of video-review disqualifications over the past year or so, the rules were changed so that players who learn of a violation after they sign their cards can sometimes be penalized without being disqualified. What do we think of the ruling?

Godich: What took so long?

Herre: Some criticized the rule change because it was done on the ever a major. I say, so what? The rule needed to be changed. Technology has gotten to the point where it has outstripped the human eye. The rule had been written for another age.

Hanger: It seems to me they were cramming overnight Wednesday to get it out before the Masters because they dreaded a video review situation that could've led to a Masters DQ that would seem, at least to many observers, to be overly harsh. It seems like a no-brainer fix, and it was smart for them to get it out this week, even if the news was lost in the shuffle a bit.

Gorant: Seemed like an obvious fix. Still, one interesting part is that if a violation is spotted during the event they will adjust the score without a DQ. But if the violation isn't discovered until after the event ends, then there will be no penalty. In other words, someone could win, have a call-in point out a bit of video that proves they broke a rule, but nothing will be done about it. Potentially troublesome.

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