Jordan Spieth could not have played it cooler as he approached the 18th tee box on Sunday at the 79th
Masters. Sure, knowing he was about to be the second youngest golfer behind Tiger to win the green jacket made a smile spread across the 21-year-old Texan’s face. But this is to be expected after one of the greatest performances in the history of golf.
Spieth has become the fifth wire-to-wire champion in Masters history and the first since 1976. He is now the only golfer at Augusta National to reach -19, which he did on the 15th hole with a birdie putt.
The one blemish on his game—if it can be called such a thing—was a bogey on 18 that left him at -18 and tied with Tiger’s ’97 record for the best ever tournament finish.
Even so, his nerves proved icy, and he never faltered while shooting rounds of 64, 66, 70 and 70 (270 strokes). Only one other golfer has been able to keep the field more than three shots back the whole tournament, and that was Craig Wood in 1941. Spieth knocked in 28 birdies and allowed himself just 8 bogeys, all of which were distributed evenly throughout the weekend. This guy is steady, and he’s here to stay.
The field behind him put up fierce numbers, and on any other weekend few other guys could have been the ones being presented the green jacket at Butler Cabin.
Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose tied for second but were never truly a threat. Both finished four strokes behind Spieth. The world No. 1 Rory McIlroy (-12) came in fourth and tied with Hideki Matsuyama (-11) for a lowest last day score of 66.
Spieth jumps to No. 2 in the world with his first major win, and he made it clear his goal is to usurp Rory’s title as No. 1. This is the first time players 25 or younger have been No. 1 and 2 at the same time.
Spieth’s Masters win has ushered in a new rivalry that will bring great competition to the sport in the years to come.
His victory makes him one of three golfers since 1950 who has won the Masters in one of their first two starts at Augusta. But the show he put on was no fluke. Spieth is the real deal, and he’s proven it over the course of his short professional career.
Spieth already has three PGA tour wins, and he’s finished win, second, tied for second and win in his last four tournaments. Although overshadowed by this year’s performance, in 2014 he tied for second in his Masters debut.
Tiger, who won the Masters when he was five months younger than Spieth, had the spotlight on him for the first day and a half. Now almost 40, it shocked most that he was still around on Sunday, finishing tied for 17th at -5.
However, it quickly became apparent where the attention should be directed after Spieth demolished the field through Friday. And the golf world’s attention will stay on him throughout his career, as long as he keeps winning.