Spieth pressure and Augusta

By Neil Connolly, in Sport, Golf · 09-04-2021 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

Due to the stars aligning regarding my schedule over the weekend and coverage of the Augusta National Women’s Golf Championship, fitting in perfectly with my time in front of the television, I got to watch the very best women amateur players in the world compete on the back nine of Augusta in their final round.

What became apparent, is that the tournament committee didn’t hold any punches with regard to the course set up, it looked like the holes were in traditional Sunday positions, and the greens were at their normal outrageous slick pace. It seemed as if nobody wanted to win the tournament, because as soon as they had the lead, they would triple bogey a par 5 or double bogey a par 3.

At the start it didn’t make for really good TV, although through time you couldn’t help but realise it wasn’t the golfers’ fault, it was that mystical combination of the back 9 at Augusta, and that old devil pressure which was coming into play. It didn’t make the tournament any less compelling it was just unusual to see players struggling so much.

Then you looked at the scores that these players were shooting, which were around level par, it had to be the combination of the pressure and the toughness of the golf course which were the main culprits.

These were the best women golfers playing amateur golf in the world, which reminded me of a much talked about theoretical conversation which sometimes occurs between amateur golfers and professional golfers; it goes along the lines of just how difficult is Augusta? What often doesn’t get put into the mix in this conversation is how easy it is to become starstruck, to actually get caught out looking around thinking this is cool rather than getting down to the business of controlling the golf ball. Added to the mix would be greens the speed of which you’ve never putted on, you then have a compelling argument that breaking 100 would be a significant feat.

It was brilliant TV, it showed the brutal nature of the golf course, in a raw state with not many patrons attending and with the true splendour of the golf course shining through. Remember Tiger did make 10 on the 12th last year, the same hole where Jordan Spieth collapsed a couple of years earlier. Norman spraying the ball into the stands up 18. We have seen breakdowns and heroes made on that golf course.

It was a great warm up for the first Major of the year. The most eagerly anticipated week of the golfing calendar, which was made even more interesting with Jordan Spieth ending his four year winless drought. I hadn’t realised that the last tournament he won was the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

They say, “it’s tough to win on the PGA Tour” but I think it’s safe to say it’s even tougher to have won and then to look like you’ll never win again. He’s really been through the wringer so for him win last night must have felt like a huge release and he now has the opportunity to point his memory and his critics at the win, not his losses.

He knows how to win around Augusta, his tail is up and his positivity is rising and I wouldn’t count him out. But let’s see, time will tell, it’s a traditionally impossible task to forecast the winner; another one of the alluring qualities of the Masters championship along with everyone knowing that the tournament doesn’t get started until the back nine on Sunday.



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