Jordan Spieth wins the Masters
Jordan Spieth won his first major championship on Sunday at Augusta National, taking the 2015 Masters Tournament.
Even before he stepped on the grounds at Augusta, there was a buzz about Spieth winning the Masters, as he entered the week as the number two betting favourite behind only world number one Rory McIlroy, but even the most ardent Spieth supporter couldn’t have been expecting this. Spieth went wire to wire, becoming the first player in 39 years to lead the Masters from start to finish, and as much as people like myself wanted to believe that there was a more competitive finish coming, especially on Saturday, it was never really in the cards.
For the most part, Spieth wasn’t often in trouble from the tee or around the greens, but when he was, he managed to get himself out of it with something miraculous.
On top of that, the putter was red hot in all four rounds. Justin Rose had several opportunities to make it close on Sunday and he played well, but every time he seemed to hit a putt, Spieth was there with an answer, which is something Rose touched on in his interview after Sunday’s final round.
If you had offered the field a final score of say, 12-under par at the beginning of the week, my guess would be that most of them would have taken it without hesitation. Spieth beat that number by six, and did it by running over a world class field and torching a course that routinely makes the best in the world look like weekend hackers.
This was special.
- 1. Jordan Spieth -18
- T2. Phil Mickelson -14
- T2. Justin Rose -14
- 4. Rory McIlroy -12
- 5. Hideki Matsuyama -11
What the win means for Spieth
When he was asked about his quality play a few weeks ago, Spieth remarked that he didn’t really look at it as a run because he figured that this was how he was supposed to play. This tournament is proof of what Spieth can do, and at 21 years old, we’re going to be watching him do it for a very, very long time. There are a lot of people both inside and outside of the game who have been wondering about the long term health of the sport, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you that this win makes all the difference in the world and that golf is going to start rivalling the other sports for attention and page views, but Spieth winning is a pretty big deal.
He’s incredibly talented, and it’s impossible not to like the kid, who says and does all the right things. There’s no reason to believe that he can’t keep this up, and having a top of the line American golfer at 21 years old as a potential foil to Rory McIlroy is something worth keeping an eye on. Getting to the levels of popularity and achievement of Tiger shouldn’t be expected of anyone, and honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that but Spieth is still a very compelling player, person and has world class talent to back it up.
At 21, Jordan Spieth is one of the best golfers in the world and you won’t find anyone who will tell you that he can’t be one of the best players of at least the last fifty years. The best part is that this really feels like just the beginning.
- Spieth moves to number two in the Official World Golf Rankings, behind McIlroy
- Lifetime exemption to the Masters, plus a five year exemption to the other three majors
- 28 birdies made is the most in tournament history
- Set new 36 and 54-hole scoring marks, and tied Tiger’s 18-under 270 for best in tournament history
- Joins Demaret, Keiser and Schwartzel as the only players to win in their second appearance
- Becomes the 12th youngest major winner in history
Coming into the week, my thought was that a good result for Tiger would have been to make the cut and hopefully, not embarrass himself too badly. Selfishly, I didn’t want to see the same guy that showed up at Phoenix and Torrey, and if it was going to be that guy at Augusta, I would have preferred to see him sit this one out. Not only did that guy not show up, but for a good portion of the week, Tiger resembled the guy who won here four times.
Good irons and a sublime short game.
The putter was good.
And the driver was still wayward at times, but at least he was taking aggressive swings.
Of course, he then proceeded to hurt himself on a root while swinging out of the pine straw on nine.
Have no fear though, as it was only a joint that came out of place, which Tiger promptly put back into place. No big deal! This was the full Tiger experience this week, and I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it. The most important thing is that for the first time in almost two years, it looks like Tiger Woods is ready to play competitive golf again.
Complaining about the TV coverage at the Masters has become a yearly tradition, but with everything that happened on Saturday, it really would have been nice if Augusta National decided to change up their policy, which is about as likely as them letting Gary McCord back through the gates, but their current stance does nothing but annoy people and ultimately, it hurts the game. When Bill Wirtz was still alive and running the Chicago Blackhawks, he refused to televise Blackhawks home games in an attempt to get more people to the arena. This isn’t THAT bad, but we’re getting there.
Even if you say “Well, they had no idea that Tiger would make a run on Saturday”, you’re ignoring that as usual, the club completely botched their featured groups online, allowing people to watch Vijay Singh and Rickie Fowler instead of Tiger and Sergio. In fairness to them, they aren’t the only ones who haven’t yet figured out how to optimize digital coverage for golf in 2015, but it seems pretty simple to me: look at the groups, and pick which ones that the majority of people would like to see, or put it to a vote on the website and let the viewers decide who they want to see.
Of course, none of this would be needed if there was more TV coverage of the Masters on ESPN/CBS than Golf Channel gives to the Tshwane Open, but I’m not holding my breath on that one either.
CBS was a little too slow with the mute button:
- Notables to miss the cut: Bernhard Langer, Jim Furyk, Luke Donald, Gary Woodland, J.B. Holmes, Brandt Snedeker, Billy Horschel, Victor Dubuisson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Martin Kaymer and Fred Couples.
- Selected player thoughts:
- Phil Mickelson: Much like Tiger, tournaments just seem more fun with Phil in the mix, and this was no different but as I’ve talked about before, don’t get used to this. We’re at the point with Phil where he’s only got so many bullets left in him, and he knows it. He’s only going to fire when it matters most.
- Rory McIlroy: It’s pretty crazy that it never really felt like Rory was in the tournament and he still finished in fourth place. He really is on another level.
- Justin Rose: Just another solid week from Rose, who really came in with no prior form but proved once again that he’s one of the best players in the world. He had apparently been dealing with some health issues earlier in the year, which could explain the poor form, so hopefully this is a turning point in the season for him.
- Charley Hoffman: Hoffman disappeared from both the leaderboard and the coverage on Sunday, but overall, it was a really solid week. He impressed me.
- Hideki Matsuyama: Much like Rory, Matsuyama back doored a top-5 without anyone even really noticing that he played all week. It’s very, very easy to see him winning one of these soon.
- Sergio Garcia: Stop tweeting at Tiger. He’s not reading them.
- Henrik Stenson: When you consider that earlier in the week, Stenson couldn’t finish practice rounds because of how sick he was, a T19 starts to look pretty good.
- Dustin Johnson: DJ’s show on Saturday with three eagles on the par-5’s was something special. The three remaining major venues this year set up perfectly for him too, so don’t be surprised when he finally breaks through.
- The best moment of the week was still Phil talking about how he wears black to remind himself to be more aggressive. Don’t try and convince yourself of anything otherwise.