GW Daily: Short game's importance grows

April 06, 2011

From the April 6 issue of Golf World Daily:

It used to be that power was considered the most indispensable attribute to winning the Masters. The theme got its foundation from the domination of sluggers Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, who won every year from 1962 thru 1966.

But what's become clear in 2011 is that prognosticators now consider short-game virtuosity to be paramount. The reason is simple: With the course being made more difficult since its lengthening in 2002, more greens are being missed in regulation, making delicate recoveries more frequent and more important. The new perspective is reflected in leading prognosticators making Luke Donald -- who finished T-3 in his first Masters in 2005 but hasn't threatened since -- the thinking man's choice.

Both Nick Faldo and Martin Kaymer (as well as Golf World's Tim Rosaforte) touted Donald as their favorite. Kaymer on Tuesday cited the flawless wedge skill Donald used to beat him at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, while three-time-winner Faldo said his fellow Englishman has the technique and nerve to hit the "tiny" chips that force a player to "slide that little sand wedge underneath" the ball sitting closely on Augusta's tight turf.

"Winning the Masters takes short game magic," Paul Azinger, working for ESPN this week, said Tuesday. "Seve had it; Tiger and Phil have it. Power is nice, but touch is the difference maker."

-- Jaime Diaz