Jordan Spieth won one of the most exciting golf tournaments I have seen in a while. It was all on Spieth who began the final round leading by 3 shots and by the time he stepped on the 5th tee box the lead was gone. The lead was up for grabs by Spieth and Matt Kuchar with Kuchar leading by a stroke at one point. The turning point in the tournament and certainly the round was the 13th when Spieth knocked his tee shot was off line and he had to take 30 minutes to determine just where was the best place to make his drop from an obstructed lie was going to be. He did incur a penalty stroke for his drop and it looked for all the world like he was going to make double bogey or worse on the hole. He didnít make double bogey or worse. He knocked it close to the green with his 3rd stroke and got up and down for a bogey and Spieth himself acknowledges that is where he probably won the tournament. Spieth made 4 bogeys and a birdie on the front nine to make the turn at 3 over for the round. Spieth said after the tournament that he was just trying to set himself up for the final six holes but the bogey at 13 was a minor setback to his strategy. That incredible bogey at 13 set up Spieth to go birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, par on the final 5 holes to turn his round around and he shot a -1 69 to win the Claret Jug and earn the 3rd leg of the career Grand Slam. He is the 2nd youngest player to win the 3rd leg of a career slam behind Jack Nicklaus and he is the youngest player ever to win 3 legs of the Grand Slam AND win 11 PGA tournaments. Spieth looked like another pretender to the Tiger Woods throne after a major chock job at the 2016 Masters and a flop at the PGA the same year. Spieth won this first two majors in 2015 with a record setting win at the Masters and he followed that up with a win at the US Open. The choke job at the Masters really derailed his year.
2017 has been a different year as Spieth began the new campaign with a 3rd place finish at the SBS Tournament of Champions. Spieth was the defending champion and his good showing was an encouraging sign after a disappointing 2016. Spieth won at the AT&T in February becoming only the 2nd player, Tiger Woods was the first, to win his 9th career victory before the age of 24 post WWII. His season tailed off a bit after that and his 11th place finish at the Masters after another rough final round was troubling. After missed 3 cuts in a row Spieth found himself in contention at the US Open. He was derailed by a 4 over 76 on Saturday that took him out of contention. He rebounded just one week later at the Travelers Championship winning in a playoff with Daniel Burger for his 10th career win.
That gets us to the British Open. Spieth was great on Thursday, not-so-great on Friday, great on Saturday and the roller coaster ride on Sunday to win the event. Where Tiger never really struggled on the way to winning 14 majors Spieth struggled mightily on Sunday and he persevered despite not being on his A game. Tiger never won a major when he didnít have his A game but Spieth has proved to himself and the world he can win as long as he doesnít let his mind derail him and his putter is working. Tiger had the mystique of invincibility that disappeared when his ex-wife Elin took a 5 iron to his head. Tiger has never recovered from that 5 iron shot, career-wise, which proves he was not mentally tough enough to overcome adversity. Spieth has already shown that sort of mental toughness and it will make him even tougher to beat in the future IMO.
You kind of feel bad for Matt Kuchar, who briefly held the lead and battled Spieth match play style all day. Heís a good guy and he deserved to win had Spieth faltered down the stretch. At age 39 it doesnít figure Kuchar will have many more chances to win a major so the loss yesterday is too bad for him and his fans.
Now the question is with Spieth back up his Open win with good showings, if not more wins, at the PGA and Tour Championship. If he wins one or both of those events his could very well yank Player of the Year honors away from the current favorites.