Golf, the official sport of hell, claimed another soul Sunday.
Dallas’ Jordan Spieth, at age 22, is certainly young enough and grounded enough to rescue his career from what happened on the back nine at Augusta National.
But as Spieth himself told reporters Sunday at the Masters, “Big picture, this one will hurt. It will take a while.”
’Twas a few moments after midnight in England when Spieth, who once led the final round by five strokes, made his final bogey, assuring that Sheffield’s Danny Willett was the new champion. Somehow, I can’t imagine the Brits pouring into Trafalgar Square to celebrate the historic win.
Here on our shores, however, was another story. Golf-watching parties were ruined. Sponsors turned suicidal. Jim Nantz was out of scripted lines.
The Masters is our golf toonamint. Go home.
Instead, there was America’s own, Jordan Spieth, golf’s new fresh prince, helping Willett into the green victor’s jacket.
Danny Willett, as it turns out, is 28 and learned to play golf in a sheep pasture. He has a wife named Nicole who, as Nantz and the CBS gang informed us throughout Sunday’s back nine, just gave birth to the couple’s first child, Zachariah.
Danny Willett also has a puckish brother, P.J. , who took to Twitter to provide a delightful rogue commentary on the finish.
Some of his best tweets:
“Stand still, you [bleeps]”
“My boy has got some massive bollocks.”
“Spieth is lining up his putt. If I’m quick I can get a beer, go to the toilet, and paint the spare room b4 he hits it.”
“2 birdies from slow poke and I’ll eat my pants.”
Alas, “slow poke” — we assume he means Spieth, whose week was only unraveling around him — was out of birdies once the clock struck midnight, London time.
Willett shot a final round 67 to finish 5-under and become the first Brit to win the Masters in 20 years.
But enough about him.
Poor Jordan. Poor golf.
Just when you thought Tin Cup was just a movie, Spieth’s quadruple bogey on No. 12 showed us that in golf, everything evil is in play.
Spieth’s remarks to CBS’ Bill Macatee, minutes after he walked off the course, seemed painfully honest.
“I probably should have just gone to the drop zone, where we knew the yardage, but I just compounded the mistake,” he said. “It was just a lack of discipline, coming off two bogeys, instead of recognizing that I’m still leading the Masters by a couple of shots.”
After shooting 32 on Sunday’s front nine and finishing with four birdies in a row, Spieth carded a 41 on the back side.
“It was just a really tough 30 minutes for me,” he said, “that I hopefully will never experience again.”
At 22, Spieth has reigned handsomely as the face of golf’s future. When he wins, which was often, the first person he hugs is usually his special needs sister, Ellie. His charitable foundation benefits youth with special needs, military families and junior golf.
What did Jordan Spieth ever do to deserve this?
As a final blow, in a bow to Augusta National tradition, the defending champion had to help his successor into the green jacket—once for the CBS cameras, once for the patrons gathered outside.
“As you can imagine, I can’t think of anybody else who may have had a tougher ceremony to experience,” Spieth said in the interview room. “Obviously happy for Danny. More important than golf, he’s had a lot of really cool things happen in his life. Like he said, maybe fate had it this time for him.”
That’s not the way that golf works. Golf, as it reminded us Sunday, works the dark side of the street.
How cruel it was. How golf.