Masters Tournament leaders
(after 54 holes)
1. J. Spieth -16
2 J. Rose -12
3. P. Mickelson -11
4. C. Hoffman -10
T5. R. McIlroy -6
T5. T. Woods -6
T5. K. Streelman -6
T5. K. Na -6
AUGUSTA — Every eye in the world is on you, Jordan Spieth.
Major championship winners, some of them outright legends of the game, made a move Saturday, and they want nothing more than to build on their own legacy Sunday. Phil could have the patrons going bonkers. Tiger could be fist-pumping his way to the finish. That wouldn’t translate well for you.
You’re playing on what’s universally regarded as golf’s most-hallowed ground during golf’s most important week of the year.
And you’ve been here before. Just last year, in fact, you held the 54-hole lead at Augusta National Golf Club.
It’s unfair to say you choked, even though you’ve admitted that you got a little anxious. You shot even par on Sunday.
But your playing partner won. He had more experience, perhaps. You were 20.
You’re now 21, though, and that comes with many privileges.
No, not those privileges, Jordan. I’m talking about experience.
You’ve used your experience as a Masters Tournament first-timer last year to propel your game to another level during this year’s tournament. Last year, you finished tied for second.
Before this year’s tournament, you said, “I want to improve on last year’s result at the Masters.” Again, you finished tied for second last year, Jordan. Why couldn’t you have just said that you wanted to win?
If there’s more than winning, though, Jordan, you’re doing that too.
You’re breaking tournament records. You’ve eclipsed both the 36-hole and 54-hole Masters scoring records, and this green-jacket shindig has been around awhile. Whatever the result Sunday, your play this week has earned you a line of ink in the media guide and a cool Wikipedia entry.
If you shoot at least a 3-under 69 Sunday and win, though, you’ll have the Masters Tournament record, too. That would erase the name of Tiger Woods from that line of the Augusta record books. He did something very similar when he was your age in 1997.
Tiger claims you were in diapers at the time. Neither you nor I know if 3-year-olds wear diapers.
You’ve got to be proud about how you fought back Saturday, Jordan. After a double-bogey at 17, followed by a right-at-the-gallery approach on 18, you hit a flat-out remarkable flop shot and bent your putt in for par. If you win, we could remember that save for a while.
Your win will mean so much to Mr. Crenshaw. You’ve called him a mentor, and you joke around with him as Texas buddies. He’s taught you about the speed of these Augusta greens, and you’ve learned well. With this being his 44thand final Masters, I’m sure it would mean a lot to him to pass the Texas torch in Augusta.
You waited all year for this chance, and now you’re here. You have a four-stroke lead.
It’s like Christmas Eve, and you’re playing the role of Santa Claus. For everyone.
Now go out there and hit a little white ball into a cup in the ground 18 times, and your life will change forever.
Vince Johnson is covering the Masters for the seventh time. You can follow his coverage on Twitter @vincejohnson.