AUGUSTA, GA—Defeat is an integral part of all sports. Someone always has to lose. The way that you win or lose can define the game, match, or tournament. On Sunday, the world had to bear witness to one of the unforgettable ways to lose at The Masters at Augusta National.
Jordan Spieth is one of the bright young stars in the game of golf. He had a historic year in 2015 winning two majors, coming in second in another, and winning the FedEx Cup.
It looked as though he was on his way to supplanting his name in the record books and taking home his second green jacket in consecutive years. That is until the 12th on Sunday.
That is a phrase that will haunt Spieth for quite some time. “The 12th on Sunday.” The 12th at Augusta is probably one of the most picturesque golf holes in the world, and now, until redemption can be earned, it will be viewed as a bloody battlefield for Spieth.
Jordan cruised through the front nine on Sunday, birdieing four straight holes and taking a 5-stroke lead into the back nine. That is when his troubles began. Going into the par-3 12th, Spieth still had a 1-shot lead. Then it happened.
With the swing of an iron, the crowd watched in agony as his ball came up short of the green and found its way into Rae’s Creek. After a drop, Spieth’s ball again came up short and joined the former at the bottom of the drink. A second drop and this time Jordan over compensated and put his ball over the green and into the back bunker. He would go up and down from there.
When it was all said and done, a quadruple bogey. His 1-shot lead turned into a 3-shot deficit in a blink of an eye. That 3-shot deficit would not be overcome as he finished, tied for second with Lee Westwood at that same margin.
Spieth told ESPN, “It was a really tough 30 minutes for me that hopefully I never have to experience again.”
In my opinion, this kind of ending will pay dividends for Spieth in the long run. The pain of losing a major as glamorous and historical as The Masters will definitely sting for quite some time, but it will also create a burn and desire to never feel that way again.
Anyone that follows golf knows what kind of competitor young Spieth is. It’s way to early to compare him to the likes of Tiger Woods, but many can see the similarities in the two’s competitiveness. This being said I’ll be putting my money on Spieth for the remaining three golf majors.
This is to take nothing away from Englishman Danny Willett, who shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 in the final round. Willett became the first European to win The Masters since 1999 and to think that he almost didn’t even play in the tournament.
Danny and his wife Nicole were expecting their first child, a boy, on the Sunday of The Masters Tournament. Willett had said that he would miss the tournament before missing the birth of his first child. Zachariah James Willett had other plans, and must have known that his dad was going to be a Masters champion, as he became a part of the world 12 days earlier than expected.
The rest is history.
For one player, agonizing defeat. For another, the sweet taste of victory. All the drama unfolded after a little stroll down Magnolia Lane.