Clarke and McDowell have no answers to Augusta questions

Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell had no answer to golf's toughest questions and exited the 2016 Masters with their highest round scores ever.

But unlike Ian Woosnam, who stuck around after rounds of 82 and 81 to chat about what could be his last playing appearance at Augusta National, the Ulster pair were understandably in no mood to share their thoughts after days to forget

As Clarke posted an 84 before scurrying away, Graeme McDowell’s Augusta hoodoo continued with an 81 and a sixth mixed cut in nine appearances.

McDowell at least shared some thoughts on Twitter.

McDowell tweeted: “My love affair with Augusta continues….. Couple of bad driver swings and putting with the handbrake on caused a slow painful bleed today.

"9 Masters later and continue to be bemused by this course. Love it and hate it at the same time. Will continue to work. Lots of golf ahead.”

In Clarke’s case, it could be his last Master as a player. And it almost certainly will be for Welshman Woosnam, who sees no alternative but to say goodbye forever after 28 appearances, exactly 25 years after his memorable win.

Woosnam is simply getting on in years and his bad back, coupled with the length of the hilly course, have made retirement inevitable. For the Irish pair, it was simply another bad week in Georgia.

Like McDowell, 47-year old Clarke left the scene with a face the colour of crushed raspberries. And it was little wonder.

He began the day on four over par but left on 16 over after a round that featured one birdie, five bogeys and four double bogeys

Having opened with a double bogey six, where he thinned his green-side bunker shot into the crowd, Clarke made his only birdie of the day at the par-five second when he hit a great third to three feet.

But it was an utter nightmare after that as he three putted the fifth and sixth to turn in 39 and then came home in 45 with bogeys at the 12th, 16th and 17th and doubles at the 11th and 13th (he found water on both) and the 14th where he three putted.

Clarke had four three-putts his round and as he was competing on the fifth and final year of a five year exemption for winning the Open in 2011, he may never get the chance to play the Masters again.

Woosnam is welcome back every year as the 1991 champion but the 58-year old Welshman has decided to say goodbye after 25 years, simply unable to compete on a course than now measures 7,435 yards — 500 yards longer than when he shot 12 under par to win his line major.

The Welshman hit a wedge to the 18th that year, deliberately hitting his driver over the bunkers on the left to give himself a perfect angle.

This time he tried to go down the left side to open up the green on the 465-yard finishing hole but hit the trees and ricocheted into the toilets near the eighth tee.

Left with a 250 yard approach, he eventually got up and down from 83 yards for a closing par, adding an 81 to his opening 82 to miss the cut with ease on 19 over.

“The 18th was as well as I played this week,” Woosnam joked. “In the crapper! It’s just getting really tough. That’s my last go. I am not fit enough to play with my bad back. 

“Every time I play this course it just seizes on me, and can’t swing the club properly. I am in pain all the way round so it’s time to say bye-bye really.

“There’s not much they can do. I have ankylosing spondylitis and I can’t play with all the slopes here.  I was swinging it beautiful before I came here. I am always taking pain killers just to play golf but it’s just too tough here for me. 

“I said in the past that if started shooting in the 80s I would call it a day. I am in just in pain all the way round and you can’t expect to play well. 

“It’s time for me to sit back and watch. I’ll still keep coming to the tournament obviously. It’s a shame to finish off playing like that but you can only do your best. Never mind, I’ve still got a Green Jacket.

“I made par on 18 – that was a great way to finish. The drive wasn’t actually that bad because I have to hit it down the left side of the fairway to have a shot at the green. 

“I was trying to keep it tight to the left and just caught a tree and instead of bouncing right it bounces left. I had to hit a rescue club to get it up there but I suppose it was a pretty exciting way to finish in some ways!”

Woosnam can always say he won the Masters, but if McDowell is to say the same he will have to come up with yet another game plan to solve the mystery of Augusta National.

Having posted a fine 72 on Thursday, the 36-year old tried to keep his expectations in check but he was undone by a slow start and never recovered.

A slightly pulled drive at the second end up down in the stream and he made bogey there before dropping further shots at the fourth (bunker), fifth (three-putt) and sixth, where he overshot the green to a back right pin and his chip ran off the front.

The back nine was a tale of troubles as he drove into tree and bogeyed the 10th, the found water with his approach to the 11th and double bogeyed.

A birdie four at the 13th, where he holed a seven footer, gave him some respite. But he three putted the 14th for bogey and had to get up and down from 56 yards for par at the 15th after finding water with his approach.

Another three putt at the 17th left him eight over for the day and it was no surprise when he made another bogey at the 18th, signing for an 81 that was his worst score at Augusta by two shots. He shot a 79 on his debut in 2005.

It was another tough scoring day at the Georgia venue with Ian Poulter crashing to a  78 to slip back to three over

“It wasn’t as tough as yesterday,” Poulter said. “It’s just disappointing to be marginally off around this golf course because that just shows you how difficult this golf course really is. 

“Margins for error are really slim. You are always on edge on this golf course, especially when this wind is blowing. 

“You don’t have to do too much to find trouble. It’s tough but that’s why we love this golf course. 

“I walk off and shoot six over par but I still love this golf course because it has given me what I deserved today which is a right kick in the nuts."

Poulter then took to twitter to complain about Oliver Brown's colour piece in the Daily Telegraph, which ran: 

With odd-coloured shoes setting off his eye-watering turquoise-and-lavender ensemble, Ian Poulter looked as if he had turned up for work as a wild berry Pop Tart. Either that or he had just lost a bet.

Say what you like about this swaggering harlequin – and many do – but he does not want for bullishness. He took to preparing for his 11th Masters by posting a picture of his newly-burnished trophy collection on Instagram, before telling the world about the repairs to his Ferrari F40.