Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Masters History Is in the Making

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Masters History Is in the Making

Article excerpt

HISTORY can be made in The Masters at Augusta this weekend - in a way that seemed unimaginable just 10 years ago.

When Tiger Woods completed the firstever clean sweep of the majors by claiming his second green jacket nobody could have thought that a decade later the golfing landscape would be so different.

Now, following a season of unprecedented success, a win at The Masters would complete a European Tour clean sweep - and leave America without any of the majors or the Ryder Cup for the first time.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell got the ball rolling when he achieved Europe's first victory at the US Open in 40 years last June.

South African Louis Oosthuizen took The Open at St Andrews by an amazing seven shots, then German Martin Kaymer grabbed the USPGA title and McDowell, of course, was the match-winning hero of the Ryder Cup in Wales.

With Woods (pictured right) currently in the longest barren spell of his career - 20 events going back almost 17 turbulent months for the man now down to seventh in the world - it is Phil Mickelson who stands as the biggest stumbling block to Europe's hopes.

He is the defending champion. He is the winner of three of the last seven Masters - Woods had his last victory in 2005 - and he was a winner in Houston last Sunday. He is the clear favourite.

Not that Mickelson has a problem with what has been happening since he produced his remarkable shot out of the trees on the 13th and pushed Lee Westwood into second place last April.

"I think it's been great for world golf that we have had so many non-Americans playing well and moving up the world rankings," he said.

"I think it's created some international exposure and really good for the game in general."

Kaymer and Westwood, paired together in the opening two rounds for the third time this year, stand first and second on the world rankings. …

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