Jordan Spieth Collapses At Masters After Shocking Quadruple-Bogey On 12th Hole
Seemingly cruising to a second straight green jacket at Augusta National, 22-year-old rising golf superstar Jordan Spieth knocked two balls into Rae’s Creek in front of the par-3 12th hole and saw a 1-shot lead turn into a 3-shot deficit on Sunday’s 80th Masters Tournament in Georgia.
Jordan Spieth Collapses At Masters
Spieth finished tied for second with Lee Westwood three shots behind champion Danny Willett, who posted a bogey-free 5-under 67 in the final round of the tournament, which aired on CBS.
“Big picture? This one will hurt,” Spieth later stated.
Spieth, the defending champion who led by five shots when he made the turn, made a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 12th. More than understandably enough, Spieth looked beyond upset, head down and hands in his pockets as 28-year-old Englishman Danny Willett was crowned this year’s Masters champion. Spieth placed the winner’s green jacket onto Willett’s shoulders, as is tradition, a task that is always difficult for a reigning champ who has failed to defend his title.
Club chairman Billy Payne expressed his immense gratitude to Spieth for being “such a splendid champion this year.”
Still utterly bewildered by his loss, Spieth stepped into a gray Mercedes SUV and left Augusta National at 8:01 pm ET. Smylie Kaufman, the Masters rookie he’d spent the entire day with, stood near the clubhouse after having shot 81. Kaufman assured someone standing close to him: “There definitely will be a next time. The sun will come up tomorrow.”
“It just kind of stunk to watch it,” Kaufman said about Spieth, who had just shot 73.
It was clear by the end that nothing in the history of golf has ever been so painful to watch for so many as was Spieth’s quadruple-bogey seven at the 12th. He closed out the front nine with four consecutive birdies to wipe out Kaufman and everyone else too, apparently.
Arnold Palmer blew a 7-shot lead with nine holes left to go at the 1966 U.S. Open, but he was always known as a very high risk-taker. He foolishly (but predictably) pursued Ben Hogan’s scoring record, and he was also playing with an opportunistic Hall of Famer, Billy Casper. Jean van de Velde got wet and wild with the 72nd-hole lead at Carnoustie in 1999, but he was hardly a very good player and that ended up being more funny than sad.
“I can’t imagine that was fun for everyone to experience,” Spieth said, “other than Danny’s team. And those who are fans of him.”
Eighteen-time Major Champion Jack Nicklaus even commented on Spieth’s loss: “My heart goes out to him for what happened,” Nicklaus said, “but I know that Jordan is a young man who will certainly learn from this experience and there will be some good that comes out of this for him.”
Willett, who just had a baby boy with his wife, earned his breakthrough victory with a 67 on his wife’s birthday. His wife’s pregnancy almost kept him out of the competition.
Spieth was about to be the youngest player in the Masters era to have claimed three majors. He was about to win a second Masters in only his third appearance, strikingly close to beating out greats like Nicklaus and Palmer, both of whom didn’t win their second Masters until their sixth appearance, and Tiger Woods, who won his second Masters after seven appearances.
At the age of 22, Spieth was set to match the number of green jackets worn by Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Seve Ballesteros and Tom Watson. He would have joined Woods, Nicklaus, and Nick Faldo as the only players to win two straight Masters.
Instead, people will remember Spieth in a different way following this historic collapse. He had a 9-iron in his hands and a 150-yard tee shot to execute. Spieth and his caddie, Michael Greller, agreed that a draw was the right call, but after Spieth stood over the ball, the little voice inside his head began telling him to hit a cut. “And that’s what I did in 2014,” Spieth stated, “and it cost me the tournament then, too.”
The ball landed short and fell into Rae’s Creek. Two shots after that, the ball landed in the bunker, after which Spieth made 7 and arrived at the 13th tee 3 strokes behind Willett. “Buddy,” Spieth told his caddie, “it seems like we’re collapsing.”
Spieth appeared to get a bit choked up, unsurprisingly, after thanking those who cheered his rally. “And they almost brought me back into it,” he said.
“Jordan’s on a mission,” his father told ESPN.com after the 11th round of the Masters on Thursday. “He’s not talking a lot.”
“As you can imagine,” Spieth said, “I can’t think of anybody else who may have had a tougher ceremony to experience.”
Spieth, the only golfer to ever reach 19-under at Augusta National (in 2015), will likely and unfortunately remember this tournament forever.
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