09 Apr

By

Jordan Spieth Steeled For Success via Masters.com | Horns Illustrated

(Image via masters.com)

(Image via masters.com)

Article via www.Masters.com

Golfers learn things in different places, but arguably the best if most difficult education comes in the classroom of Sunday afternoon, when success is so close yet so far away.

When delivered at a major championship, as they were a year ago for Jordan Spieth at the Masters Tournament, the lessons can be particularly valuable – advanced degrees in walking a tightrope with everybody watching.

Twelve months ago at Augusta National Golf Club, Spieth – now 21 years old and impressing the golf world with his talent and moxie – got the training that any number of the sport’s best players have absorbed: being in great position to claim a first major title and failing to finish the job.

“Having been so close last year and having a little experience and riding some momentum, I hope to put myself in contention and use what I’ve learned since last year." - Jordan Spieth

Bidding to become the youngest player to win a major since Tom Creavy at the 1931 PGA Championship and the first since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win the Masters on his first try, Spieth birdied four of the first seven holes in the final round, building a two-stroke lead over Bubba Watson. Spieth’s momentum quickly dissipated, though, with bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9, which Watson birdied en route to a three-stroke victory over Spieth and Jonas Blixt.

“I guess the hardest lesson taken from last year was that I had an opportunity to make a dream come true and had it in my hands and then I was just a little anxious,” Spieth said. “You can make the excuse that as a first-timer, as a 20-year-old, that’s likely to happen. But in my mind, I was playing the best … and didn’t quite close it out.”

As Spieth looks forward to tackling Augusta National a second time, he has a reservoir of success achieved since that disappointment to rely upon. With victories at the Emirates Australian Open and the Hero World Challenge late last year, and a triumph at the 2015 Valspar Championship, Spieth has climbed to No. 4 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

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James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.