I don’t watch sports. I don’t bet on sports and I don’t fill out brackets. Just never been one of those guys. But I do watch golf. And this weekend is it.
If I was a betting man…I’d tell you this much—Jordan Spieth will hold on today. Not because he’s young and not because he can see the field, but because he is humble and respects the game. He is studied, and has paid his respects to those that came before him. He understands what this means. It is a lot more than a green suit jacket.
The funny thing about watching the Masters at work on your tablet during your lunch break is that you get the unfiltered version.
This week, I’ve listened to Tiger cuss more than the Gold Rush crew and throw mini tantrums every time he screwed up in Round 1 and 2. The commentary keeps coming back to Tiger because in 1997 he won his first Masters at 21—the same age that Spieth is today—by a margin of 12 strokes.
Going into Sunday that year, Tiger led by nine shots. In 2015, Spieth leads by four.
I only mention the once-great Woods because he is the exact opposite of the young gun aiming for a shot at the title. Tiger is loud. Tiger is proud and Tiger is at six under. But, he has long way to go if he wants to call it a comeback.
The thing about golf that makes it so fun watch is how easy it is to screw up. It’s the same element that makes it so frustrating when you’re actually out on the course and what supports a $62-billion annual industry focused on making everyone better.
But just as easy as you can screw it up, you can save it. Look at the people’s man—the 2010 champion—and my personal favorite, Phil Mickelson.
He was two under par on Thursday. Cleaned that up by two more on Friday and one more today to finish the day within five strokes of Spieth. He has won it before, been there done that and he sure is fun to watch. Give it hell today Lefty!
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Spieth was in the final pairing last year and in the third round he tied Bubba Watson at five under. He has felt the spray from the waves and he knows how to watch for the sets. He’s ridden the smaller waves, and now it’s time.
Ernie Els called him the most balanced player he’s ever seen.
Fellow Texan Ben Crenshaw called Spieth and one of the best putters the game has ever seen: “He has the look and the first time I met him I thought I was looking at Wyatt Earp.”
The two played the back nine together on Wednesday and Crenshaw told the young man everything he knows about the tricky greens at Augusta.
Obviously, Spieth listened.
Spieth isn’t flashy. And that what makes him great for the game. He will be only the fifth man to go wire-to-wire behind Floyd, Nicklaus, Palmer and Craig Wood.
Spieth is starting off Sunday with the 54-hole record. He was bogey-free on Friday and posted nine birdies on Thursday.
If he holds it together, plays smart and doesn’t implode he’ll take the jacket, without a doubt. But he’s got Tiger, Hoffman, Rose, Mickelson, McIlroy, Streelman, Na, and Johnson all within 10 strokes and all focused on making sure he doesn’t.
And that my friends is what makes Sunday at the Masters one the best of the year to watch.
Photo Courtesy: PGA.com