Spieth Sets Sights on Major
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
JORDAN SPIETH has much in common with Tiger Woods, the man he will surely replace at the summit of the game.
As he hit a number of errant shots, Spieth became increasingly frustrated with himself. He felt that, even at the age of 20, it was his destiny to win this thing.
“Dang it, Jordan!” he muttered while strolling down the fairways. Finally, after three brilliant days, he showed his age - and not for the first time. His first major will have to wait - but not for long.
“It stings right now,” Spieth said afterwards. He was trying to become the become the youngest major winner in 80 years and had one arm in the green jacket when he walked off the seventh green with a two-shot lead, having made one birdie by holing out from a bunker, another with one of those testy downhill putts that are so often the mark of a Masters champion.
But Spieth, who isn't yet old enough to drink played the last 11 holes in 3-over par.
Finishing second was no good to him. “I feel like I’m ready to win,” Spieth said. “Maybe I need just a little bit of course knowledge.” He was playing the Masters for the first time, and experience matters at Augusta.
Spieth discovered that at the eighth, where he thought he struck a perfect wedge from right of the green, and watched in disbelief as it stopped 25 feet from the cup, leading to a three-putt bogey that changed the momentum of the day. There was more of the same at the ninth, where Spieth’s approach came up just short and rolled back off the front of the green, resulting in another bogey before he made the turn.
Watson birdied both holes and suddenly Spieth was two behind.
“I was 3 under through the first seven,” Spieth said. “If you had told me that when I woke up this morning, I would have thought it would be difficult for me not to win this golf tournament.”
Spieth trailed the rest of the way, finished off by his tee shot at the notorious par-three 12th that trickled into Rae’s Creek and Watson’s booming drive at the 13th that sliced around the trees and came to rest 366 yards away, setting up an easy two-putt birdie while Spieth was making a par he couldn’t afford.
“I’m very, very pleased with the way I played,” said Spieth, who shot an even-par 72 that was his worst score of the week. “But the only thing I’m thinking about is getting back here next year. That is what’s on my mind.”
Blixt, also a Masters rookie, shot 71 for the third day in a row but couldn’t sink enough putts to make a serious run. “I just didn’t get the approaches as close as I wanted,” Blixt said. “I did not give myself enough opportunities to make birdies.”
No Swede has ever won a major. “I’d love to be the first one,” he said. “I hope that curse can end soon. I will do as much as I can and work hard as I can to end it.” Spieth is eager to get back to work, too. “I accomplished one of my goals this year: get in contention at a major and see how I can do,” Spieth said. “Hopefully going forward, I can do that again. I’ve still got three more this year.”
It would be a brave - or foolish - man who would bet against him.
Derek Clements is a sports journalist with a particular passion for golf with over 12 years of experience covering golf and other sports including Chief Sub-Editor on the sports desk of The Sunday Times. To contact Derek email direct via [email protected]
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