What happened to Rory McIlroy at the 2011 Masters Tournament?

The 2011 Masters Tournament was staged, as it always is, at the Augusta National Golf Club between April 7 and April 10, 2011. In search of his first major championship, Rory McIlroy shot 65, 69 and 70 in his first three rounds for a 12-under-par total of 204 for 54 holes. He held a four-stroke advantage entering the final round but, having played the front nine in one over par, led by just a single stroke from Charl Schwartzel, Angel Cabrera and Tiger Woods at halfway.

The 21-year-old Ulsterman started to falter on the 495-yard, par-4 tenth hole, where he snap hooked his drive deep into the pines, barely 150 yards from the tee, and he could only pitch out sideways. His approach shot missed the green, again to the left, and finished at the foot of a steep bank, with trees between the ball and the pin. His fourth shot struck a branch and ricocheted short of the putting surface and he took three more to get down, walking off with a triple-bogey seven.

McIlroy went from first to tied seventh in one fell swoop, but worse was to follow as he headed into Amen Corner. He found the green at the initimidating 505-yard, par-4 eleventh hole in regulation, but three-putted from seven feet for a bogey. On the 155-yard, par-3 twelfth hole, he four-putted from 10 feet for a double-bogey, thereby dropping six shots in three holes and effectively ending his challenge for the Green Jacket.

On the relatively short, 510-yard, par-5 thirteenth, McIlroy again drove left, into Rae’s Creek, and buried his face in his arms, on the verge of tears. He escaped with a par, but dropped another shot at another ‘friendly’ scoring hole, the 530-yard, par-5 fifteenth, and eventually finished with an eight-over-par 80. His 72-hole total of 284 was only good enough for fifteenth place, 10 shots behind the eventual winner, Charl Schwartzel.

How many European golfers have won the Masters Tournament?

The Masters Tournament was inaugurated, as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, in 1934 and, apart from a brief hiatus in 1943, 1944 and 1945, due to World War II, has been played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia ever since. The Masters Tournament has the distinction of being the only major championship played on the same course each year and participation is, and always has been, by invitation only.

At the time of writing, the Masters Tournament has been played a total of 86 times, so far, and won by eight European golfers, who have 13 titles between them. In its early years, the Masters Tournament was exclusively the premise of American golfers. In fact, between 1934 and 1979, the only non-American to don the iconic ‘Green Jacket’ was South African Gary Player, who did so three times, in 1961, 1974 and 1978.

In 1980, the late Severiano Ballesteros became the first European to win the Masters Tournament, beating Jack Newton and Gibby Gilbert by four strokes, having led by ten heading into the back nine on Sunday. In 1983, Ballesteros won again, again by four strokes, from Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite. In 1985, German, or West German, Bernhard Langer birdied four of the last seven holes to win his first Green Jacket; he, too, would win a second in 1993.

Three years later, in 1988, Scotsman Sandy Lyle became the first British winner of the Masters Tournament, making a birdie from a fairway bunker on the final hole to beat Mark Calcavecchia by a single stroke. Remarkably, the next three winners, Englishman Nick, now Sir Nick, Faldo in 1989 and 1990, and Welshman Ian Woosnam in 1991, were also British. Faldo would chalk up another British win in 1996, as would Danny Willett in 2016, while the octet of European winners is completed by Spaniards José María Olazábal (1994 and 1999) and Sergio Garcia (2017).

Which golfer holds the record for consecutive wins on the PGA Tour?

The golfer who holds the record for consecutive wins on the PGA Tour is John Byron Nelson Jr., better known as Byron Nelson, who, in 1945, played in 30 PGA tournaments and won 18 of them, including 11 in a row. In so doing, he set two records that are unlikely to be broken.

‘Lord Byron’, as he was known, began his winning streak in a team matchplay tournament, known as the Miami International Four Ball, at what is now the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club in Miami, Florida. Nelson and his partner, Harold ‘Jug’ McSpaden, had finished first and second on the PGA Tour Money List in 1944 and were duly dubbed the ‘Gold Dust Twins’. Despite Nelson complaining that he played ‘just horrible’ when sixth behind Sam Snead in the Jacksonville Open the previous week, they justified their nickname, winning all four matches with a minimum of fuss.

Thereafter, Nelson won 10 individual tournaments in a row, starting with the Charlotte Open, in which he defeated Sam Snead by four strokes in a second 18-hole playoff, and ending with the Canadian Open, in which he defeated Herman Barron by four strokes. In between times, he also won only major championship played that year, the PGA Championship – which, at the time, involved strokeplay qualifying and a matchplay tournament – with the other three cancelled due to World War II.

The winning streak came to an end when Nelson could only finish tied for fourth, behind 29-year-old amateur Fred Haas, in the Memphis Invitational at Chickasaw. Nevertheless, he won four more tournaments before the end of 1945, including the last two and, just for good measure, won the first two tournaments of 1946 as well.