He told us he was going to be OK.
And, sure enough, by the back nine Sunday, there was Jordan Spieth, showing off.
Seven weeks after his stunning collapse in the final round of the Masters, the 22-year-old Spieth parted those lingering clouds with a hailstorm of golf ball-sized birdies.
“I told you guys last Sunday that things were close,” said Spieth, whose final-round 65 earned him the coveted coat of many colors that goes to the Colonial champion.
He wasn’t merely close, however. After nine consecutive pars and sundry missed chances to start the day, Spieth started draining 34-foot putts and chipping in from 43 feet to finish in a sea of cheers.
On No. 14, he saved par by rolling a 15-foot putt in off the lip. On the 16th green, his 20-foot birdie putt required a deft touch and a 90-degree left turn.
On the par-4 17th, Spieth’s tee shot sailed left but caromed back toward the fairway off a marshal’s shoe. Spieth took one of his golf gloves, autographed it and gave it to the gentleman with a message:
His second shot on that hole flew over the green, but no problem — not on this day. From semi-bare ground, 43 feet from the pin, Spieth chipped in for his fifth birdie of the day.
If I’m anyone playing against me, I’d be pretty upset at that.
Jordan Spieth on his luck at No. 17
Spieth later called it, “One of the luckiest holes I’ve ever had, personally.
“If I’m anyone playing against me, I’d be pretty upset at that.”
He was kidding, but so the back nine went. By the time Spieth beamed in a 34-footer on No. 18 for yet-another birdie, it was looking like the bishop’s infamous round from Caddyshack — minus the lightning bolt.
In the interview room later, seated next to the jockey-sized winner’s trophy, Spieth brushed off any suggestions that his past failures and near-misses in Texas tournaments had provided motivation.
“I didn’t feel a monkey in DFW,” he said. “I figured I’d be playing in DFW for decades, so sooner or later something was going to go my way.
“It’s nice that it did here now, though. There was significance in it happening now, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get over the hurdle of having to come into every single interview room and listen to crowds that only talk about what happened a month ago.
“It’s not like I hadn’t won. But it’s very difficult to stay positive when that’s happening, when those are the only questions.”
If there was one moment over the four days that particularly raised his fur, Spieth admitted, it was Sunday at the par-4 10th, when some jackwagon yelled, “Remember the Masters, Jordan. Remember the Masters.”
Either way [he meant it], there’s a little red-ass in me, and it came out on the next few holes.
Spieth on the comments by a heckler at No. 10
“Either way [he meant it],” Spieth said, “there’s a little red-ass in me, and it came out on the next few holes.”
Suddenly, he looked like the hungry Spieth of 2015.
There was no doubt all week, though, who owned the Colonial gallery. Spieth graduated from Dallas Jesuit and attended Texas in Austin before ascending into the PGA Tour spotlight.
How was he able to block out the shouts from the adoring home crowd?
I hear, ‘Go, Bearcats!,’ which is my middle school, St. Monica. I hear, ‘Hook ’em, Horns!’ all the time.
Spieth on the hometown support
“I don’t block it out,” he corrected. “It’s cool to hear it.
“I hear, ‘Go, Bearcats!,’ which is my middle school, St. Monica. I hear, ‘Hook ’em, Horns!’ all the time.
“It was awesome to hear it these couple of weeks.”
Unlike a week ago at the Byron Nelson tournament, however, Spieth was able to answer the cheers — and the Masters jeers — spectacularly.
“To come back and close this one out the way we did is really, really special,” he admitted. “It’s just so frustrating when it’s not going your way.
“Last Sunday was a tough day for me, given it was at home. So to come out on top here, no matter what happens in the next 30 years of my career, this will go down as one of the most important days I’ve ever had.”
Leaving the interview room, Spieth was greeted by more cheers and a setting sun.
The clouds of Augusta were gone. Just like the hometown kid told us.
Dean & DeLuca Invitational
Colonial Country Club
-17 Jordan Spieth
-14 Harris English
-13 Ryan Palmer
-13 Webb Simpson
-12 Kyle Reifers
-9 Anirban Lahiri
-9 Jason Dufner
-9 Matt Kuchar
-9 Martin Piller
-8 Chad Campbell
-5 Tom Hoge