Jordan Spieth begins this week’s Masters as the player with the hottest record in the event in recent years. Twice a winner and once runner up in his last four starts and 11th last year after being well into contention heading into the final round, Spieth’s game suits Augusta National and vice-versa.
Today, in a press conference the 24-year old spelt out his thoughts on just why he does so well at this event.
“I think this game brings out the feel aspect of my game, which is the better side of me on the golf course. It’s not a technical driving range golf course, you have a lot of uneven lies and very slopey greens, and so you have to play a lot off of feel and what that lie gives you.
“I think that that’s helped me kind of settle in and not overthink things out here and get into a nice groove, and it’s led to some success at this event. So it is my favorite tournament in the world. I’ve certainly made that pretty clear going back the last five years.
“So excited for this week. Game feels good, and the golf course is looking to be already pretty firm and fast. We’ll see how it holds with the weather that’s coming in.”
Spieth has hardly played badly this of late but until last week’s improved effort at Houston he was below his best and his 3rd place finish three days ago has him primed for his 5th appearance at Augusta National.
He is not fazed by the fact that his form in 2018 has taken a little longer to kick in.
“I feel better coming into this week than I did in 2016 and 2014 where I came off of missed cuts in Houston. There’s a lot to be said off of the previous week, the previous week’s momentum. And being able to work my way last week into contention and hit some putts under pressure I kind of pretended like I was tied for lead even though I figured I was a stroke or two back. I kind of wanted that “you need to make this” feeling.”
“I would say this year I’m certainly hoping that I’m approaching this as this is the beginning of the year, it’s not been the greatest start to the year of any that I’ve had. But I kind of look at it almost in like thirds.
“You kind of get the half a dozen to ten events, you get kind of before the Masters, and then you get the Masters through kind of that U.S. Open stretch is the next third, and then you get the last two Majors and the playoffs, the FedExCup is kind of like the last third.
“So this maybe starts kind of the second ‑‑ kind of end of the first, beginning of the second, third of the season.
When asked as to how he feels as to whether this is the most anticipated Masters ever Spieth had his own thoughts but was keen to not overstate the fact.
“I think it probably is. I think the addition of Tiger being healthy and playing well, no matter what else happened, was probably going to make it as anticipated as any going back five, six, seven years. So that in its own.
“But then Phil winning recently, Rory winning recently, Bubba winning recently, Justin playing well, D.J. playing well, I mean, yeah, there’s just a lot of guys playing really good golf that create story lines in general. And then when you put it at kind of the biggest stage in our sport, I think that creates that anticipation. But for me personally, I mean, it’s just ‑‑ it doesn’t feel any different to me.”
Despite his young years Spieth has already built a special relationship with this event and vice versa and when asked how this event sits with him against the other majors he responded.
“The other Majors and other golf tournaments certainly have similar history, and The Open Championship has even more history than any other tournament. But to be played at the same place, to have ‑‑ to play 16 and see Tiger’s chip putt in, to see Phil’s holing bunker shots on 15 for eagle, all the putts guys have made on 18 to that Sunday pin, it’s just ‑‑ and the amphitheater setup as you come up 18, it’s just like, it’s a walk that I’ll certainly never forget.
“So personally it’s a no‑brainer for me to say so. But I don’t know why necessarily other people would feel that way.”
The love affair between Jordan Spieth and Augusta National looks set to continue this week. His is a record like no other in recent years and despite that his 12th hole demise in 2016 could well have left an indelible scar on his memory he has found a way to put that behind him and look ahead to the possibility of not just contending but winning this week.
If he does, few will be surprised.