Europe's Masters drought down to 'cycles': Faldo

Wed Apr 6, 2016 4:55pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - European golfers have endured a 17-year title drought at the Masters after dominating the tournament for two decades, a barren run that three-times winner Nick Faldo says can only be explained by "cycles".

The Englishman, along with Spaniards Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal and Germany's Bernhard Langer, spearheaded a formidable European wave at Augusta National that produced 11 victories in a 20-year span.

Since then, however, the continent has repeatedly fallen short at the year's opening major championship, despite frequently having former world number ones Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald in title contention, among others.

"It has to be cycles," Faldo told Reuters outside the iconic clubhouse at Augusta National when asked about Europe's barren title run since Olazabal's 1999 victory. "I'm sure everybody is motivated and everything.

"We just had a run where European golf was very dominant, led by Seve, and we did have an amazing run because you can't put your finger on how we did it. We've got nothing like this (the slick greens of Augusta National) in Europe.

"For European golfers, on the style of courses we played back then, to come here and play was chalk and cheese. I don't know how we really did that, to be honest," the former world number one said with a chuckle.

Faldo, one of only three players who have claimed back-to-back Masters victories, could not explain why the likes of four-times major winner McIlroy and double major champion Kaymer had not yet tasted success at Augusta.

"Everybody is in there and everybody is trying their best but I guess it's the way the universe has been spinning, that's all I can say, because everybody is good enough (to win the Masters)," Faldo said.   Continued...

Apr 6, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Nick Faldo reacts after a putt on the 4th green during the Par 3 Contest prior to the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports