Lefties rule, Europeans splutter in current Masters cycle

Wed Apr 8, 2015 6:27pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Left-handers are winning the Masters and Europeans are being shut out, raising the question of whether there is a reason or just the latest turn of a cycle at Augusta National.

Lefties went 40 years between major titles, from the British Open triumph by New Zealander Bob Charles in 1963 until Canadian Mike Weir won the 2003 Masters.

Now you can hardly stop them. Following Weir, southpaws Phil Mickelson and fellow American Bubba Watson have accounted for five Masters wins in the last 11 years.

The European Ryder Cup team, meanwhile, has become nearly invincible, beating the U.S. side in eight of the last 10 match-play contests, but Europe has failed to produce a Masters winner since Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain in 1999.

"It's just cycles," former victorious U.S. Ryder Cup captain and former major winner Paul Azinger told Reuters.

"Anybody can win at any time. You just got to look for the player that's got some power and can drum up some magic around the greens. That's what's required here. You have to be magical around the greens."

Mickelson conceded that the course set up better for lefties. "There are holes that sit better for left-handed players," said Big Lefty, the 2004, 2006 and 2010 champion.

Said Watson: "It's the only course I've won twice at, so it's pretty good."   Continued...