A Major Masters Mishap


Jordan Spieth kneels down in disappointment on the 18th hole at Augusta National Golf Club.

On April 10th 2016, Jordan Spieth was doing Jordan Spieth things.  He stood on the 10th tee at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday at the 2016 Masters with a 5 shot lead and nine holes separating him from earning back-to-back green jackets, and his third major championship at the boyish age of 22.  He was hot off four birdies in a row to complete his “dream-come-true front nine” and in, what seemed to be, complete control of the 80th edition of the Masters Tournament.

He would become the youngest player in the Masters era to claim three major championships. He would become golfs first back-to-back, wire-to-wire major winner. He was going to win his second Masters title in just three appearances when it took Tiger Woods seven appearances, Jack Nicklaus six, and Arnold Palmer six.  He would match the number of green jackets won by Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Seve Ballesteros, and Tom Watson at just 22 years old.  He was going to be one of just three players to win two consecutive Masters, joining greats Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Nick Faldo, and be the first player since WWII to overcome more than 3 double-bogeys and win.

All of this would have been, but one bad swing cost him all of it. He started his back nine with two discouraging bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes, decreasing his 5 shot lead to just 3 shots.  Still with a promising lead, it wasn’t the end of the world. Then on one of the most difficult holes in all of golf, Jordan Spieth stood over his ball on the famous par 3, 12th hole and shockingly put his ball in the water.  It was a surprise to everyone watching, as no one would have expected the former world #1 to fault on that big of a stage.  That wasn’t all of it though.  After hitting the first ball in the hazard he went on to hit a second ball into Rae’s Creek.  It was like watching a nightmare.  Of all the sports that I have seen, I cannot remember a more depressing and heartbreaking scene of events unfold in such a short amount of time. He finished the hole with a quadruple bogey 7, and his highest score on any hole in his major championship career.  Meanwhile, while this was all going on, Englishman Danny Willet made a birdie to take a 3 shot lead on Spieth, all by the time he stepped onto the 13th tee box.

In a 50 minute span, Jordan Spieth went from having a 5 shot lead to trailing by 3 shots.   To no one’s surprise, Spieth didn’t quit.  He battled back with birdies on par 5’s 13 and 15 but it just wasn’t enough.  He failed to bounce back from his colossal mishap on the 12th hole and fell three shots short, ultimately losing the Masters to Danny Willet.  This will go down as one of, if not the biggest collapses in the game, and it couldn’t have happened to a better person.  It was one of the most depressing scenes of events in sports history, which will be talked about for years.  It will be hard to forget, as the emotional roller coaster of that back nine was unlike any other Masters in history.

Jordan Spieth handled it with class just as we all expected. As the previous year’s champion, it is his responsibility to help the new champion into their new green jacket.  Instead of putting the jacket back on himself as we all thought he would be, but he had to painfully but gracefully help Danny Willet into his champions jacket.  He did it very professionally and respectfully and that is why so many people love Jordan Spieth.  The professionalism and class he portrays on and off the golf course is truly inspiring.

This experience will certainly hurt Spieth, but knowing the competitor he is, there is no doubt he will learn from his experience and come back even stronger in the future. It’s just a matter of time before he will have that second green jacket he was so close to capturing in April of 2016.