It is an impressive record, although it is not that unusual in this decade.
Zach Johnson became the first Masters champion not to come out of the final group since Nick Faldo in 1990.
Ben Curtis is the only player this decade to win the British Open without being in the last group to tee off Sunday. The last PGA champion not to play in the final group was Steve Elkington. The last two U.S. Open champions, Geoff Ogilvy and Michael
Campbell, came from behind, but before that you had to go back to 1998 to find a rally from Lee Janzen.
The lesson in all this? It's not easy coming from behind in major championships, no matter who is leading.
There have been 29 majors held this decade, and 23 of them havebeen won by players who had at least a share of the 54-hole lead.The only players this decade to win majors without starting the final round in the last group were Johnson, Ogilvy, Campbell and
Tom Pernice Jr. made a bogey on the final hole of the Masters, and it could prove costly.
It dropped him into a tie for 17th, which is significant only because the top 16 from the Masters are eligible for next year. It was only the third time Pernice, 47, had played in the Masters. He got in this year by finishing 25th in the money list. Also
finishing out of the top 16 was Mark Calcavecchia, who took triple bogey on the 13th hole Sunday to ruin an otherwise great round. He shot 73 and tied for 20th.
Among those assured of returning were Jerry Kelly (tied for fifth) and Ian Poulter (tied for 13th). Everyone else in the top 16 likely would have made it back through the world ranking or having won majors.
CADDY FOR A CURE
For the second straight year, Russ Holden has organized 'Caddy for a Cure,' which allows people to bid on eBay for a chance to caddie for a PGA TOUR player during a practice round. All the money goes to leukemia research and charities designated by the tour and the player.
It starts at the Verizon Heritage, and his timing could have been better.
Holden, who formerly caddied for Bernhard Langer, arranged for three players to participate at Hilton Head. The auction began March 23 and ended on March 30. The three players were Stewart Cink, Tom Pernice Jr., and Zach Johnson. Who knew Johnson would win the Masters a week later?
Other players who have agreed to take part include Mike Weir (Byron Nelson Championship), Ernie Els (Wachovia Championship), Stephen Ames (Colonial) and Retief Goosen (Memphis).
The PGA TOUR is going to Puerto Rico, adding a $3.5 million tournament next year that will be played the same week as a World Golf Championship.
The Puerto Rico Open will be played at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club on March 20-23, the same week as Tiger Woods defends his title in the CA Championship at Doral.
The winner in Puerto Rico will receive $630,000 and a two-year exemption, but he will not be eligible for the Masters.
The World Golf Hall of Fame will have a featured exhibition that starts Friday called 'Gary Player: A Global Journey,' to commemorate the South African playing in his 50th Masters. Among items in the display will be his all-black outfit worn in Thursday's opening round. ... The Evian Masters is increasing to 90 players, an increase of 12 spots. The additional players will be selected from the world rankings on July 16, a week before the $3 million tournament begins in France. ... The last player to win a PGA TOUR event the next week after capturing the Masters was Bernhard Langer in 1985. ... Zach Johnson is the first Nationwide Tour alum to win the Masters.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Zach Johnson, Geoff Ogilvy and Ben Curtis are the only players born after Tiger Woods to have won a major.
'No one here has worn a jumpsuit more than me -- just not this color.' -- Eric Larson, who caddied for Mark Calcavecchia at the Masters after spending 11 years in prison.
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