There are many different ways to lose a golf tournament. Sometimes, it’s just one bad swing, one bad hole. On occasion, victory is simply snatched out of your hands. Sometimes your luck runs out.
Or maybe it’s simply not your time.
That’s probably how 20-year-old Jordan Spieth lost the Masters. He missed out on taking part in a lot of historical trivia. He could have been the youngest Masters champion. He could have been the youngest major winner since 1931. He could have been the first Masters rookie to win since 1979.
Spieth started the final round Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club tied for the lead with Bubba Watson and ended with an even-par 72, tied for second place with another Masters rookie, Jonas Blixt. Meanwhile, Watson was being fitted for his second Green Jacket.
He began the day unable to sleep as long as he wanted because he was so eager to get going. And not too long afterward, there he was, 3-under par through seven holes, two strokes clear of Watson.
“If you told me that when I woke up, it would be difficult for me not to win the golf tournament,” Spieth said.
Yet that’s exactly how it turned out. Watson picked up four strokes in two holes, and that was the beginning of the end.
For Spieth, it was the end of the beginning. Some media had designated the Masters as the coming-out party for Spieth, the cameras shoved in his face, the focus squarely trained on him, all the more relevant with Tiger Woods unable to play and Phil Mickelson missing the cut.
Golf loves fresh new faces and great new talent and Spieth has them both, but Spieth later had to admit that it wasn’t his time.
“I can take a ton of positives from this week,” he said. “I feel like I’m ready to win, it’s just a matter of time.”
Spieth played the second nine in 1-over par and without a birdie. He played the last 11 holes in 3-over par. And as the reality set in that it wasn’t going to be his day, Spieth’s frustration began to show with poor body language and grimaces and club-waving, actions for which he apologized later.
“Whether my face showed it on the back nine, I was really having a good time,” he said. “I’m not as good at holding my emotions.”
He has time to work on that. He’s already the owner of a PGA Tour victory, he’s sure to improve on his No. 13 ranking now and the future is brighter than bright.
That doesn’t mean Spieth is totally happy about not winning the Masters.
“It stings right now,” he said. “The only thing I’m thinking about is when I’m getting back next year. I’ll have more chances, but it’s a stinger. I had it in my hands and could have gone forward with it.”