The Masters: Danny Willett won, everybody else lost

Jordan Spieth of the United States presents Danny Willett of England with the green jacket after Willett won the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club… on Sunday. PHOTO: AFP.

Jordan Spieth of the United States presents Danny Willett of England with the green jacket after Willett won the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club… on Sunday. PHOTO: AFP.

The Masters provided what golf fans wanted – back nine Sunday drama. But I’m not entirely comfortable with the post-mortem that’s been going on now for three days.

I thought I’d said what I had to say about the outcome at The Masters, but Rex Hoggard’s How Will Spieth Heal? sets my teeth on edge.

Simply put, Danny Willett won The Masters and he did it by delivering a blemish-free round of golf on Sunday when tensions were running high for everybody in the last three groups. Willett put his head down, stayed focused, and delivered the best game in his bag. As it turned out, that was good enough to get him a green jacket, a very nice check, and his first major championship title.

I am aware that Jordan Spieth made the turn with what seemed to all of us  he’s-got-it-in-the bag five shot lead over the field. But this is golf we’re talking about. As all of us who play the game are well aware, in golf that apparent advantage can evaporate with one or two flawed shots, and that’s what happened to Jordan Spieth.

But I think the problems began much earlier for Spieth. Did he lose The Masters on the back nine on Sunday, or had he been struggling with his swing for 63 holes when he made the turn Sunday afternoon?

Beginning in the first round I watched him hesitate over the ball repeatedly, struggle to get himself set, step back and try again. What was going on? He outdid himself in the slow play department. Waiting for the wind to stop blowing before he took his shot? Really?

Spieth was playing golf like a man who was having a crisis of faith last week. In golf, technical skill will only take you so far, and that’s generally not to the top of the leaderboard. Without focus and confidence – mastery of that pesky playing field between the ears – it’s almost impossible to win any golf tournament, most especially one as charged as the Masters.

Of course, the loss hurts. But is Jordan Spieth’s pain greater than Lee Westwood’s? What about Rory McIlroy, who can’t seem to subdue Augusta National and finish up that Grand Slam?  They probably all coped with the agony of defeat at the Masters Sunday evening.

• Culled from www.progolfnow.com



No Comments yet

Related