Spieth admits it will take time to get over Masters

Phil Casey 11/04/2016
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Disappointing: Jordan Spieth.

Jordan Spieth admitted it would take him a long time to get over squandering a gilt-edged chance to win back-to-back Masters titles on Sunday.

Four birdies in succession from the sixth gave Spieth a five-shot lead with nine holes to play, only for the world number two to drop shots on the 10th and 11th and run up a quadruple-bogey seven on the 12th.

The 22-year-old kept his hopes alive with birdies on the 13th and 15th, but a bogey on the 17th confirmed he would have to settle for a share of second place with Lee Westwood.

Spieth, who has now finished second, first and second in his three Masters appearances, said: “It’s tough, really tough.

“Four birdies in a row and I knew that even par (on the back nine) is good by at least a shot and sometimes that makes it hard. You go away from the game plan and start playing conservative. A few weak swings and suddenly I am not leading any more.

“We still have the confidence that we are a closing team, we can close. I have no doubt about that ability. It was just a very tough 30 minutes for me that I hopefully never experience again.

“But boy, you wonder about not only just the tee shot on 12, but why can’t you just control the second shot, you know, and make five at worse, and you’re still tied for the lead. Big picture, this one will hurt. It will take a while.

“I knew the lead was five with nine holes to play. And I knew that those two bogeys weren’t going to hurt me. But I didn’t take that extra deep breath and really focus on my line on 12. Instead I went up and I just put a quick swing on it.”

Spieth enjoyed a wire-to-wire victory and also led after each of the first three rounds this week, but struggled to reproduce the form of his opening 66 and was pleased to receive help from his coach Cameron McCormick before the final round.

“I didn’t ask for him,” Spieth added. “He texted me and said, hey, would you like it if I came back? I said, sure. It can only help me if he’s here.

“He likes for me to be self-reliant. But at the same time the wheels kind of came off the last three holes on Saturday and I think he felt that just his voice would bring my confidence back into my swing, and it certainly did.

“He knew what was wrong and he knew that if he were here watching shots on the range it would make a difference. And it did, my confidence going into the first hole was fantastic.

“But, listen, I had my B-minus game tee to green and I made up for it around the greens with my putter. Ultimately you just have to have your “A” game every single part, and I just didn’t have those iron swings, as it showed on the back nine.”

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Danny Willett attributes Masters win to fate

Phil Casey 11/04/2016
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Special day: Danny Willett.

Danny Willett felt fate might have played a part in his remarkable victory at Augusta National after an extraordinary final round of the 80th Masters.

Willett’s wife Nicole had been due to give birth to the couple’s first child on Sunday, but Zachariah James Willett arrived early to allow his proud new father to play in the year’s first major.

The 28-year-old was the 89th and last player to register after only arriving at Augusta on Monday, but took advantage of a dramatic collapse from defending champion Jordan Spieth, who presented Willett with the famous green jacket.

“On this rare occasion I’m nearly speechless,” Willett said at the presentation ceremony. “It’s been a fantastic week on and off the golf course.

“My wife gave birth last Tuesday which allowed me to come here and it’s been one of those crazy weeks where things seem to go your way. The 80th Masters is always going to be special and dear to my heart.

“My wife was born 28 years ago (on Monday) and my son was due today and he came early to let me come and play. You talk about fate and everything that comes with it…. it’s been crazy.

“People were saying ‘Try to bring the green jacket home for the little man’. It’s a bit big but I am sure he will grow into it.”

Spieth had birdied four holes in a row from the sixth to reach the turn with a five-shot lead and seemingly guarantee he would join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods in winning back-to-back Masters titles.

However, the world number two – who had led for seven rounds in succession following his wire-to-wire victory last year – then dropped shots at the 10th and 11th and ran up a quadruple-bogey seven on the 12th after hitting two balls into Rae’s Creek in front of the green.

Playing three groups ahead, Willett had birdied the 13th and 14th to reach the top of the leaderboard and another on the 16th helped complete a superb 67.

And although Spieth kept his hopes alive with birdies on the 13th and 15th, a bogey on the 17th meant Willett could celebrate becoming the first English winner since Faldo in 1996 and the first European since 1999.

“You can’t really describe the emotions and feelings,” added Willett, who finished three ahead of playing partner Lee Westwood and Spieth. “We all try to play good golf and someone has to win and fortunately today it was my day.

“Every time we seemed to make ground, Jordan kept pulling ahead. We kept trying to dig in. I thought we had to get to seven under and we looked up and Jordan was already seven. It was a very surreal day when you look back at the ebbs and flows.”

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The Masters: Top 10

Sport360 staff 11/04/2016
Masters champion: Danny Willett.

As Danny Willett claims his first major title at the 2016 Masters Tournament, Sport360 run through the Top 10 after a dramatic end to proceedings at Augusta.

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