History will remember the 2015 Masters Tournament as Jordan Spieth’s Masters, and that’s a good thing.
Spieth was historic. The 21-year-old led wire-to-wire to win the 79th annual tradition, the first player to do so in 39 years. He tied Tiger Woods’ tournament scoring record and broke both the 36-hole and 54-hole all-time marks. His play was dominant and steady.
But Spieth winning the Masters is about much more than just that.
At a place where beauty and grace, honor and integrity reign supreme, Spieth fits the mold.
He’s gracious. He’s kind. He’s humble and polite.
In his acceptance speech, he not only thanked the usual suspects, but went out of his way to thank the course volunteers, the food and beverage staff, and the patrons, saying in his impromptu comments in front of millions, “the roars at Augusta National, you (the patrons) create them.”
Immersed in our self-absorbed culture, and especially in the athletic world, Spieth stands out as the role model for others — a role, as Masters champion, he’ll now fully realize.
“Jordan, you epitomize the qualities that this club was founded on,” Augusta National Golf Club Media Committee Chairman Craig Heatley said in Spieth’s winner’s introduction, “and I think if Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts were in the room right now, they would be smiling with pride seeing you sitting in that green jacket.”
His wardrobe is subtle. His commercials promote social responsibility, like his AT&T commercial speaking out against texting and driving. His on-course demeanor is competitive but without flash. When his tee shot went into the pine needles on the 12th hole Sunday, he subtly thanked each patron for moving for his ensuing shot.
Upon entering Augusta National, the map of the course comes with this message.
“In golf, customs of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play,” Bobby Jones wrote in 1967. “Everyone is requested to display the proper customs of etiquette, decorum and behavior.”
Spieth fits the proper mold.
“It’s how the game was founded,” Spieth said. “It’s a game of integrity. There are no referees out there. We all respect each other. … I learn from my examples, and I have great examples.”
This is Spieth’s first Masters win, his first major championship victory.
“(Winning the Masters) has been my ultimate goal in life for a long time. Now, I’ll have to set a new goal, like joining Bubba (Watson) as a two-time Masters champion,” Spieth said post.
He’ll probably win many more. He’ll go on to break more records. We may watch as he grows into the world’s top player, and then a legend of the game.
But this is the proper first for Spieth, a magnificent week at the most-fitting of places.
Jordan Spieth is a Masters champion, and it feels right.
Johnson has covered seven Masters Tournaments. Follow him on Twitter @vincejohnson.