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Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel has revealed how his wife helped him regain his form and motivation after a brutal major meltdown in the middle of the 2012 Masters.
The South African was on course for a career-defining victory at Augusta in 2012 when he led by three strokes with nine holes to play, but inexplicably began spraying shots everywhere and lost the tournament in a playoff to Bubba Watson.
Speaking in an interview with ew.com, Schwartzel – now a PGA Tour and European Tour ambassador – admitted that the loss of his one-shot lead so close to home still impacts upon him almost a decade later.
“It was tough; that was a really tough one to swallow,” he said. “At the time, I had nothing but opportunities to win a major and that’s what I want to do more than anything.
“But I also realized how tough it is and how I’m a guy who’s been around for years and years and years. A lot has been thrown at me, I’ve had people telling me ‘If you do this and do that’ and all this stuff, but I think there’s a part of you that says ‘Enough is enough’.
“To me, I think at that moment I wanted to make a point of saying ‘F*** it, I’m not listening to the whole world anymore. I’ve got to go back and see my emotions and think and feel a little bit more about things that people say.”
As the outside world turned on him, Schwartzel says he felt lost – and it took his wife, Morgan, just three days to prove the pundits wrong by making the visit he so craved.
“My wife came in the next week and made a point of hanging out with me,” he said. “It brought me back a bit, the whole situation. It sort of set me on a course where I started to realize ‘F***, I’m in this stuff now and I’ve got to do something with it’.
“I made some changes and put my mind to it – and it’s been great.”
Schwartzel became the first player to take the Masters back-to-back since 1995 when he won the tournament in 2016, and has the distinction of becoming the first golfer to win majors after leading the tournament when the playoff began.
“It takes a lot to do that,” he said. “It’s taken a long time for me to realize that. It was a real weird experience. Maybe they should have put the bell on, an alarm in the players’ house to say that you’re tied for the lead after 18 holes. But you don’t know until it happens.”
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