A Masterful Performance
Jordan Spieth won the 79th Masters tournament with precision and determination that rarely is seen in major championship events. Jordan dominated from the first round to the final putt. The lead was cut to three shots a few times in the final round, but you never got the feeling that it would get any closer. Three shots could have been twenty with the precision that the 21 year old displayed as he strategically navigated his way around Augusta National. In shooting a record tying tournament score and becoming a major championship winner, he served notice that he is a major star and is hungry for many more.
It will be written that Jordan Spieth is the next superstar and could eclipse all of Tiger Woods’s records. He certainly has many of the attributes of a superstar. There really is no weakness in his game and he is still learning how good he can become? But can he win at a rate that Tiger won at in his prime? Tiger won at an almost impossible rate of 30% of the tournaments that he entered. Spieth is very good to great at everything, but not incredibly good at one thing. He is long enough off the tee, but is about average in length compared to other PGA Tour professionals. Rory McIlroy, his main competition for major championships for many years to come, can outdrive him by up to 50 yards at times. His irons shots are proficient and have good distance control. Short game is solid and can be counted on in tough situations. Putting has been very good this year. He has shown that he can handle pressure, but can he play a US Open or British Open golf course setup with different game requirements? So before I elevate him to superstar status, I want to see what he does in the next two major championships. That said, I think he is mature beyond his years and maybe his mental makeup, confidence and composure is his strongest asset.
As I stated before, I see a player that plays each day as good as he can. He sets no limits on what he can accomplish and has the resolve and guts to test those limits. In ranking talent, I would give Tiger a distinct advantage. Tiger had the ability to hit golf shots that others just didn’t possess. Jordan just doesn’t have the physical ability to produces those incredible shots, but then again, no one else does either. Rory has more talent also, but in golf there are other factors that determine success. Right now, Jordan is getting the most out of his game. Even though he is preforming to his maximum at the moment, I believe he has plenty of room in all compartments of his game to become better. Will his great be as great as Tiger’s? Will Rory and Jordan be battling for number one in the world? That will be fun to witness.
What to make of Tiger’s performance in the Masters? I thought it was outstanding. His game was in such a disarray at the beginning of the year that to make a run and perform as well as he did was remarkable. Tiger’s expectations and perception of reality can be questioned. He stated publicly before the tournament that he came to win. He moved back into contention after the third round with only four players posting better scores. Realistically he was too far back to win the tournament, but a strong finishing round would’ve quieted every skeptic even more. However, the last round featured very poor driving again. This has plagued his golf game for years. But he battled through and posted a respectable score, even with below standard putting. What this tells me is that he can again perform on the worldwide stage and be relevant. The wedge game showed no signs of the troubles that were on display earlier this year. The driver issues must be worked out if he wants to win a major. Technique isn’t the issue, but trust and confidence is. What the Masters showed was that Tiger can compete and he wants badly to get back to the top. With the likes of Rory and Jordan and many more just a step below, the task will be daunting. Tiger loves challenges, I wouldn’t bet against him.
Jordan is on top of the world today, with a great masterful performance on golf’s most picturesque stage. He is articulate, humble, and grounded. This victory will not go to his head. He has higher goals and wants this to just be the start. This tournament unfolded just as he planned and was executed with precision. Let’s see if his career will be just as beautifully performed.