The over-dramatic media is already debating the merits of labeling Jordan Spieth’s final round as one of the greatest collapses in major history — don’t be ridiculous. That honor will always belong to Jean van de Velde. But it was really one hole, the 12th that did Jordan in. Some argued that he should have hit from the drop zone instead, but a fat shot from where he was would have been the same as a fat shot from the drop zone. The location wouldn’t have made a difference. Spieth’s biggest undoing was playing for par and abandoning his game plan, something he admitted as soon as the first microphone was put in front of him.
We’ve seen major championships slip through a player’s fingers, and we’ve seen the emotions on a player’s face that tells us more than any of their answers could in the ensuing press conferences. But this time it was different. This time it was harder to watch. The golf world, media and fans, collectively felt the lump Jordan Spieth had in his throat as he was interviewed briefly before the award ceremony. And we all shared Jordan’s feeling of uncertainty and uneasiness as he stood center-frame after putting the Green Jacket, what should have been his Green Jacket, on Danny Willett. This time was different.
Even Jack Nicklaus noticed, and he offered some consoling word to Jordan as well as his congratulations to Danny Willett.
Jack Nicklaus via Twitter:
I think the whole golfing world feels for Jordan Spieth. He had a chance to do something truly special and something very few have done before—and be the youngest to accomplish that—and he just didn’t pull through. My heart goes out to him for what happened, 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. He’s a wonderful talent and a wonderful young man.
I’ve watched Danny Willett play on television a few times and when I’ve seen him swing the golf club, I have thought, “Well, this young man looks like he’s a pretty darn good player.” He had moved himself up to 12th in the world, so he’s obviously done something right and was playing very good golf coming into Augusta. What impressed me so much is that when he realized he was in a position to win, he finished it—and that’s the mark of a champion: To finish a good round; give yourself an opportunity to win; and when the other fellow doesn’t finish, you’ve got to be there. Danny Willett was and kudos to him. What an amazing couple of weeks for him—from becoming a new father to becoming the latest Masters winner. My congratulations go to Danny for what he did.
Again, it’s absolutely ridiculous to consider what happened to Jordan Spieth as a contender for greatest collapse in a major — the course had been throwing plenty of punches all week, and Jordan finally made a mistake — but we cannot allow it to cast a shadow on what Spieth has accomplished in his last five major starts.
Jordan Spieth will learn from this.