What happened on Sunday at the 2016 Masters tournament will not be forgotten any time soon.
We started the week celebrating the 30th anniversary of what was arguably the greatest golf tournament of all time, Jack Nicklaus winning his 6th green jacket at the age of 46. Both the great Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman hit MUCH worse shots that day than Jordan Spieth’s tee shot on the 12th hole yesterday. What was not mentioned until Jordan’s ball splashed into Rae’s Creek yesterday was this was also the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Masters, where that same Greg Norman SLOWLY unraveled for three hours. Watching Norman that day was significantly more painful than what happened this year. He turned a six shot lead into a five shot deficit, but it took ALL day. It happened to a guy who was supposed to win at Augusta, but never did.
Jordan Spieth, barring some unforeseen circumstance, will play Augusta National the first week in April for the next 43 years just like Tom Watson and Gary Player and Arnold Palmer before him. He already has that coveted green jacket that Greg Norman does not. The kid has as much moxie as any two other players in the field. After that disaster at Golden Bell yesterday, that kid went out and birdied 13 and 15 and hit a great shot on 16. If he ever made that putt, who knows how the last two holes play out.
There was no quit in him whatsoever. He hit the ball crooked for three days, had an awful double bogie on Friday and another to end Saturday’s round. The whole time he looked to be in complete control…no matter what happened. After he hit the tee shot in the water on twelve, he lost control for about ten seconds. He became mortal. He was finally 22 year old. He rushed a bad decision and then hit a shot fat. Then he got up and down from the back bunker (that’s not easy!) and hit three great wedge shots on 13, 15 and 16.
That third shot on 12 was the only time he “lost it” all week. And if you are at all like me, until he missed the putt on 16, you said to yourself “this kid is not done yet.”
I watched all of this with my three kids yesterday. My youngest son said to me “Daddy, I think he can still win.” I replied “you know what Angelo, HE thinks he can still win.”
Jordan Spieth, thank you for showing us all how not to quit. And it is going to feel even better when Danny Willett slides that jacket onto your shoulders a year from now.