Thoughts on The Masters

DW: “Nice shot on the 12th mate…”
JS: “I hate you.”
DW: “Help me into that jacket over there would you?”
Phew… **Wipes brow**
 
Got your breath back?
 
I really needed a few days to reflect on this one. Unlike previous years where the storylines were blindingly obvious, there was more subtlety to the 2016 Masters.
 
Was it one of the greatest in recent times? Nope.
 
Should Jordan have won it? Yep.
 
Did he win it? Err, [cringes] no.
 
Was it buttock clenchingly entertaining? 
Oh Yes.
 
 
Masters Sunday
On the 12th hole at Augusta National last Sunday, Jordan Spieth performed the greatest sporting collapse of all time.
 
Two holes prior, he had a five shot lead after making a fourth consecutive birdie to close out the front nine. 
 
He didn’t quite have his A-game and his driving was a little off, but as sure as the Pimento Cheese Sandwiches inside the ground cost $1.50, young Jordan was going to bring home his second Green Jacket.
 
Then, the unthinkable.
 
Jordan Spieth choked.

A poor approach on ten and a wayward drive on eleven led to two bogeys. However, as these are two of the most difficult holes on the course, we can explain them away as mistakes rather than significant mental errors.
 
That came on twelve.
 
A ballooned slice of a tee shot – a miss Jordan had been fighting the week before at the Shell Houston Open – ensured a watery grave. Mistake #1

Then came the decision to take a ‘line of sight’ drop to 80 yards to play his third shot. 
Maybe that is his perfect, go-to number, but for me it seemed odd not to go again from the tee box or the dropzone nearer to the 13th fairway. Mistake #2
 
Finally, a good old-fashioned chunk with a good foot of Georgia soil meeting his lob wedge before the ball. Another one in the drink and a quadruple bogey seven resulted. Mistake #3
 
Why did it happen?


1. Tournament Schedule

Jordan’s globetrotting diary played a significant part in this collapse. Consecutive tournaments in Hawaii, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, meant that the young American was not as fresh mentally and physically as he could have been. The travel, jet lag, and lack of relaxation ensured he could not settle and allow his body to recuperate.
 
On Masters Sunday when you need your mind to be crystal clear, the fog of fatigue did not help his decision making.
 
 
2. ‘Second Year Syndrome’
 
After Rory’s stellar year in 2014, the Northern Irishman had one top five in next year’s Majors. Rickie’s remarkable performance of placing in the top five in all the Major Championships in 2014 was followed by a poor showing the following year (albeit with two other victories on Tour).
 
Jordan Spieth admitting to Sky Sports
“I’m very tired” at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Maintaining a stranglehold on the world of golf is near impossible, especially after you have done it for twelve months. Golfers attempt to peak for the Majors and the elusiveness of ‘form’ is the main reason we love watching professional sport. 
 
This is why I made the bold prediction for Spieth to not win a Major in 2016.
 
 
3. Golf is Hard
Each Saturday when reaching for a provisional ball off the first, the words “Golf is Hard,” give me a warm consoling comfort at being three off the tee. 
 
“Try doing this for a living”, I chuckle to my group as I watch another ball swing into the jungle like Tarzan. 
 
Winning golf tournaments is stupendously difficult. This is especially true when you have the weight of the golfing world on your twenty-two year old shoulders and after leading the Masters for one hundred and thirty seven consecutive holes…!
 
 
So he put one bad swing on one of the hardest par threes in golf. It isn’t the end of the world. 
 
Not just that, but with Spieth’s attitude he will come back bigger, stronger and more determined than ever before.  
 
Danny Willett – Masters Champion
Danny Willett
It is natural to focus on the loser in these kind of situations; Greg Norman in 1996, Arnold Palmer in 1959 and Scott Hoch in 1989 all spring to mind. However, all credit to Danny Willett – thanks Monty – for shooting a bogey free 67 to take the Green Jacket. 

How much of a factor was it having his friend and co-member of Lindrick Golf Club Lee Westwood play with him on Sunday? 

Not only that, but Willett was three groups behind the final group of Spieth and Kaufmann. Sufficiently insulated from the inevitably Pro-Jordan Sunday crowds, and allowed to go about his business.
Anyone who can step up on the 16thtee, knowing they are in the lead, and stiff it to kick in range is a worthy champion.
You could feel the whole of America tense up in a true “WTF”, moment, as a relatively unheard of Englishman was welcomed into the most exclusive club in golf.
But wow didn’t he play well.
Onwards, but… where to?
Well that wasn’t part of the script was it?
 
Jordan, Rory and Jason were tied favourites before the event  when was the last time you had three joint favourites?!  so the winner had to be one of them didn’t it? Well it turns out that the game of golf won this time, rather than again being overpowered by the remarkable athlete that is Jordan Spieth.
 
So onto the US Open, The Open, then the PGA Championship, don’t forget the Olympics of course, and that little matter of the Ryder Cup.
 
2016 is going to be a fun year…  

7 Comments on “Thoughts on The Masters”

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