It’s safe to say that Jordan Spieth will win a green jacket some day — just not today.
After heading into the final round tied at five-under with Bubba Watson, Spieth was unable to hang with Watson on the decisive back nine. At 20 years old, he has nothing to be ashamed about. In his first Masters, he finished in second place, but the back nine proved to be costly. Through the first 63 holes, Spieth was calm, poised and determined, but his emotions got in the way of his play during the home stretch. With almost every bad shot he hit, he lost his composure, whether that was dropping a club or yelling at himself. It was the first time that I can remember seeing him rattled.
But that’s a good thing. He knows how important the Masters is, and he knows the opportunity that he had at the beginning of the round. Spieth just needs to reel that emotion in a bit. It’s fine to get upset at yourself — we all do it — but one bad hole cannot lead to a stretch of bad holes. The thing he has to remember is that he is only 20 years old, and he has a lot of golf and a lot of majors left in his career. He just ran into a player who has been there before and knows how to deal with the final-round pressure. Spieth will learn that too.
But it wasn’t all bad for Spieth today. He was one-under through the first three holes, but on No. 4, he brought the crowd to life. He jarred a bunker shot from the front of the green to hold sole possession of first place, and he rode that momentum to birdies on holes 6 and 7. For a while, it looked as if he could potentially run away with the event, but then every poor shot was compounded by another, which in turn, led to poor holes.
Amen Corner always plays a vital role in the final round. Not only are the holes picturesque, but they are extremely difficult. Spieth was derailed by his tee shot on No. 12. With the pin in its traditional Sunday placement to the far right, Spieth’s tee shot came up short and rolled down the bank into the water. That shot seemed to halt any momentum that he had up to that point.
Spieth is unbelievably talented, and he is the future of the PGA Tour. He didn’t shoot over par in any round, which is impressive to the say the least. Even Watson shot a 74 on Saturday. But for Spieth, today’s final round was a learning experience. Next time he finds himself in this position, he will know how to handle it better. For an example, look at Rory McIlroy. He collapsed at the Masters in 2011, and what did he do? In his next major, he went out and won by a record eight shots at the U.S. Open. Spieth can do the same thing.
Golf has a way of humbling people, and Spieth learned that firsthand today. Augusta National has done that to countless players, but we should expect to hear from Spieth again in the future.