Danny Willett’s surprise victory at the 2016 Masters should not be underestimated, given he not only was the beneficiary of Spieth’s errors on the back nine of the final round, but had the mental strength to hang onto his lead and win his first major by three strokes.
Yet, to most, last year’s Masters will go down as the one Spieth, the defending champion, let slip. The Texan had looked to be cruising to a second consecutive green jacket as he took a five-shot lead into the back nine.
Then it went horribly wrong. Bogeys at the 10th and 11th chipped away at his lead but the real disaster was still to come, Spieth sending two balls into Rae’s Creek from the 12th tee as he signed for a quadruple bogey 7 at the par three. He would finish tied for second with Lee Westwood behind Willett, his record in three starts at Augusta National reading 2nd-Win-2nd and leaving him with the best scoring average in the tournament over the last five years, a hugely impressive 69.9.
Yet such has been the focus of his failure to close out Masters win number two that two weeks ago, ahead of the WGC-Dell Match Play, Spieth said he was looking forward to the Masters being over, just to bring a halt to the questions about letting that five-shot lead slide from his grasp. Last night, in the Masters interview room, the world number six went through it all over again, though he accepted the questions were a necessary evil, even though he would rather move on and focus on the many positives of his Augusta experiences.
“Certainly necessary. I certainly understand,” Spieth said. “I think it’s therapeutic to an extent if I talk about it, but I don’t think on this stage.
“You know, I’ve been pretty honest and I’ve answered every question and there’s nothing I haven’t. I feel like I’ve been right to y’all in that sense and no one’s told me otherwise. But I think certainly therapeutic. Like anything, you go through ups and downs in life and in golf.
“You want to be therapeutic on both ends, and there have been people that I have talked to that I truly trust about ‘15, as well as ‘16 and ‘14. And I believe that certainly, you don’t want to hold stuff in. I would be crazy.
“But I also have to hold back a lot here because of how things can be and that’s no offence to you guys whatsoever. It’s just strictly the nature of what I think is appropriate in moving on and lifting up when you’re on a low, staying up when you’re high and that’s what you’re looking for in those therapeutic experiences.”