After Further Review: Spieth joins Norman in Masters lore

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Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Jordan Spieth's second-nine collapse ...

Greg Norman is one of the game’s all-time great players, but when it comes to Augusta National his is a name from which you’d like to keep your distance. After a shocking collapse in defense of his title, though, Jordan Spieth now joins the likes of Norman, Scott Hoch, Ed Sneed and even Arnold Palmer as players who let green jackets slip through their fingers.

Of course, once the dust settles Spieth can take solace in the title he won last year – a consolation that always eluded Norman. But the parallels between the two combatants, whose Masters meltdowns were separated by 20 years, are hard to ignore.

The confidence with which many were set to anoint Norman as he took a six-shot lead into the final round in 1996 was equaled – if not surpassed – by the sentiments directed toward Spieth as he stood nine holes away from a second straight wire-to-wire victory. But the ball can bounce funny down the stretch at Augusta National, and while Norman’s demise played out as a slow bleed, Spieth’s was over almost as quickly as it began.

The other aspect that ties the two is that their respective collapses will likely overshadow sublime rounds from their counterparts – both Nick Faldo and Danny Willett closed with sterling rounds of 5-under 67. Their strong final-round efforts may be historical footnotes, but those coveted green jackets hang in their locker just the same. – Will Gray


On the drama of Sunday at the Masters ...

The Masters delivered another epic tale of wonder and woe.

Sometimes we leave the stage that is Augusta National exhilarated by a bold charge that won it, sometimes gutted by a disheartening collapse. Apologies to Danny Willett, but this will be remembered for the latter.

The Masters can take our breath away. Sometimes it’s the dramatic way it’s won. It’s Bubba Watson hooking a shot out of the woods to win in a playoff. It’s Adam Scott burying a birdie putt on the second hole of sudden death to win for all of Australia. It’s Jack Nicklaus with the charge of all charges, winning at age 46 when he seemed untethered from his previous greatness.

And sometimes the Masters takes our breath away in uncomfortable ways.

Greg Norman’s collapse in ’96, when he lost a six-shot lead to Nick Faldo in the final round, was slow torture.

Spieth’s collapse was more like a punch in the gut, historic in its swift delivery. – Randall Mell


On the heroics and heartbreak of the final round ...

It’s not as though we needed a reminder, but Sunday’s extremes at Augusta National were everything that is special about the year’s first major.

After three days of blustery winds that resulted in few reasons to cheer, the frantic give and take over the final nine holes on Sunday was exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Masters, highlighted by equal parts heroics and heartbreak.

While Jordan Spieth’s implosion on Nos. 10, 11 and 12 – which he played in 6 over par – will be the lasting image from the 2016 Masters, eventual champion Danny Willett’s inspired play, his closing 67 matched the best round of the day, was just as a compelling. – Rex Hoggard


On the lasting effects of Spieth's meltdown ...

How long will Jordan Spieth’s collapse linger? That’s the biggest question to emerge from this 80th Masters.

Nine holes from becoming the youngest three-time major winner since 1923, the world’s No. 2-ranked player melted down in an unimaginable way, coming home in 41 – with two birdies. Spieth won’t play again until mid-May, which is plenty of time to absorb the most crushing loss of his career.

Knowing Spieth, it wouldn’t surprise at all if he returns more determined and motivated than ever. – Ryan Lavner