Monday, April 11, 2016

How Amen Corner became the Coffin Corner for Jordan Spieth at the 2016 Masters

Standing on the 10th tee on Sunday, Jordan Spieth held an imposing five-stroke lead.  Momentum was clearly on Spieth's side, highlighted by four consecutive birdies to close the front-9.  Spieth's name was probably being stitched on the inside label of the green jacket.  Fans who bet on Spieth were planning how to spend their winnings. 

But as everyone knows, The Masters doesn't really begin until the back-9 on Sunday.  And by the cruelest twist of fate, Spieth knows that now as well.

Spieth was looking to become the fourth and youngest player in Augusta National's storied history to win back-to-back green jackets.  Jack Nicklaus did it in 1965-66, Nick Faldo in 1989-90, and Tiger Woods most recently in 2001-02.  But for Spieth, it just wasn't meant to be. 

The wheels began to fall off for Spieth on the 10th green.  Spieth uncharacteristically two-putt for bogey from 13-feet, and his lead over Danny Willett shriveled to three. 


Then to begin Amen Corner on No. 11, Spieth's drive leaked right into the pines.  But a brilliant third shot gave him a good look at par.  Spieth two-putt again for bogey, this time from just eight-feet.

It marked the fourth time Spieth had recorded back-to-back bogeys in the tournament (something he had done only once before in his two previous appearances in 2014 and 2015).  Spieth's lead was now just one-stroke. 

Many Masters have been won and lost on Amen Corner.  For Tom Weiskopf, Greg Norman, and Rory McIlroy, it's where the green jacket was snatched in cold-blood from their grasp. 

This is what Amen Corner does.  It just wasn't supposed to do it to Spieth.  Not with Spieth poised to secure his third victory in the past five majors. 

But when Spieth splashed his tee shot on No. 12 into Rae's Creek, Amen Corner began looking like Coffin Corner. 

Obviously agitated, and probably a little bit numb as well, Spieth then chunked his next shot into Rae's Creek again.  Spieth couldn't even stand to watch.  And when the carnage was over, Spieth recorded a gut-wrenching quadruple-bogey that pushed him three-strokes off the lead. 

As heartbreaking as this was for Spieth, he's still finished second, first, and second in his first three appearances at Augusta National.  No one in Masters history can claim that same achievement. 

And while it's going to take some time for the bitter sting to go away,  Spieth will bounce back.  It's what champions do.  And it's what Spieth always does. 


Most people will be talking today about where Spieth's meltdown ranks in Masters lore.  And the green jacket presentation in Butler Cabin was as awkward as it gets. 


But in the same breath they should also be talking about the heart Spieth showed in fighting back after the quad on No. 12 (he birdied No.13 and No. 15).  Because it's that same heart that will make him the most dangerous man at Augusta National next year. 

As always, if you have any questions, shoot me an email here, or DM on twitter @PGAPappas.

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