The first full weekend in April is the most exciting time in all of golf. It is during this weekend, that the first major tournament of the year is played at Augusta National Golf Club. The Masters is the only of the four major tournaments that is played at the same location each year. Since 1949, the winner is awarded a green jacket that is returned to the clubhouse one year after the person’s victory. The recipient of the green jacket is now an honorary member of the club. This prized article of clothing makes the tournament the most prestigious one to win. It is the only tournament upon winning that you can return to and play for a lifetime.
This year, Jordan Spieth was attempting to do something that had never been done before – be the first back-to-back, wire-to-wire major winner. Last year Spieth tied the course record shooting -18 to win by four strokes. He would carry the momentum to begin this year by shooting an opening day round of 66. Then the weather came into play the next two days. Temperatures would begin in the 40s before reaching the 60s in the late afternoon. To add insult to injury, the wind would provide some drama; gusting up to 25 mph. Friday and Saturday, Spieth had his share of ups and downs, leading to rounds of 74 and 73 respectively. Despite all, he was leading on the final day by three strokes with a score of -3. Spieth would birdie the 2nd hole but bogey the 5th. That’s when the tide turned. He would birdie holes 6, 7, 8, and 9. You could hear the roars of applause all over the golf course. Players would glance at the scoreboard nearest them and see the leader distancing himself. He had a five stroke lead when he stepped up to hole #10. He hadn’t played the “back 9” (holes 10-18) well all weekend. He was -3, +3, and +2 the previous days. Even if he matched his worst score he would still win. The tailor was putting the finishing touches on his green jacket. However, the Masters don’t really begin until the “back 9” on Sunday. And begin it did! Spieth bogeyed holes 10 and 11. Oh no…he was now -5 overall, approaching the Par 3 12th hole. This had been an easy hole for him, but apparently he was frustrated and rushed his swing. He placed not one, but two balls in the water. He ended up scoring a quadruple bogey (7) on the hole. In three holes that took 45 minutes to play, Spieth went from a five stroke lead to a three stroke deficit. He was now looking up at the leaderboard, to find an English man named Danny Willet at the top. Willet had a final round score of 67 on Sunday. He birdied five holes without any bogeys. He would watch Spieth bogey hole #17 giving him the victory. It was at that moment he would celebrate by facetiming his wife and 11 day old baby boy. Congratulations to Willet on winning the 80th Masters!
The question will still remain – how on God’s green earth do you mess that up Spieth? The previous champion puts the green jacket on the new champion at Butler’s Cabin right after the end of the tournament. That presentation is then repeated outside near the 18th green in front of the spectators. If Spieth would have won, the chairman of Augusta National would have placed the jacket on him. The hardest thing Spieth had to do is to place the green jacket on Willet – twice.