Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Glowing US praise for Charl
Cape Town – Booming tributes from leading United States newspapers countrywide have followed soft-spoken Charl Schwartzel’s maiden triumph in a classic 2011 US Masters golf tournament on Sunday.Gallery: Charl Masters AugustaVideo: Charl presented with his Green Jacket
Larry Dorman of The New York Times wrote: “Fifty years to the day after Gary Player, the godfather of South African golf, became the first international player to win the Masters, countryman Schwartzel won the 75th, breaking through a chaotic afternoon shootout by birdying the final four holes at Augusta National.
“As roars exploded like cannon-fire through the pines, saluting eagles and birdies by the seven other players who either held or shared the lead, Schwartzel, 26, a thin man with a muscular game, came from four strokes off the pace with the day’s low round of 66.
“Coolly manoeuvring his way through the chaos, (he) hit 16 greens and putted like a machine.
“Although Tiger Woods started all the fireworks, shooting 31 on the front nine ... it was the unheralded son of a South African farmer who charged to the championship.”
Dorman pointed out that Vereeniging resident Schwartzel had earned “all the perks” accompanying a Major triumph: a five-year exemption into the US Open, the British Open and PGA Championship, and into all the World Golf Championship events.
In the Los Angeles Times, Jeff Shain said: “Even informed golf fans might not have known a lot about Schwartzel before this year’s Masters ... it will tough to ever forget the way he finished his week at Augusta National.
“Birdie. Birdie. Birdie. And for a final flourish – birdie. A display worthy of a green jacket, capping off an electric Sunday in which nine players, Woods included, held a share of the lead at some point and roars seemingly echoed from every corner of the course.
“The tragic figure in the tableau was Rory McIllroy, who began the day with a four-shot lead and saw it gone within half an hour ... an opening bogey, coupled with Schwartzel’s contrasting birdie and eagle in his first three holes.”
The Boston Globe, using Associated Press writer Doug Ferguson, said: “(Schwartzel) gave the Masters the finish it deserved on an amazing Sunday where the oohs came from everywhere.
“The green jacket ceremony wasn’t so much a celebration as a chance for everyone to catch their breath.”
The globally-circulated USA Today, meanwhile, simply but succinctly headlined its piece on the Augusta thriller: “Masterful Schwartzel.”