Punch Shot: Will Spieth win a major this year?

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Jordan Spieth was on the verge of his second consecutive Masters title and his third major in the last five played. But that all sunk in Rae's Creek. Following an epic collapse, we ask our writers: Will Spieth dust off this major disappointment and win a major this year?

By REX HOGGARD

Sunday’s meltdown aside, Spieth’s record in the major championships strongly suggests that whatever transpired on Augusta National’s 12th will be an afterthought when the Grand Slam season draws to a close.

Consider that in 13 majors starts the 22-year-old has finished in the top 5 nearly half the time (six), including victories at the 2015 Masters and Open Championship. By comparison, Tiger Woods had just one victory (1997 Masters) and two top-5 finishes in his first 13 majors.

This year’s major venues also should give Spieth solace following his collapse on Sunday at Augusta National.

The next major stop is the U.S. Open at Oakmont, which is arguably a more demanding putting contest than Augusta National and Spieth is still the game’s top putter, followed by Royal Troon for the Open Championship and Baltusrol for the PGA Championship.

Spieth’s ball striking wasn’t up to the test last week, but in the brief snapshot of his career he’s proven adept at adjusting to an ever-changing game.

Most important, however, Spieth will be keen to change the conversation after his Masters meltdown, and nothing will do that quicker than a major victory.


By RANDALL MELL

Yes, Spieth will win a major this year.

OK, we all know it’s a fool’s business predicting the winners of major championships. Johnny Miller, Greg Norman and Ben Crenshaw are all World Golf Hall of Famers, and they only won two each over their entire careers. Fred Couples, Tom Kite and Bob Charles are also Hall of Famers and they each claimed a single major. That’s how tough it is to win majors.

Spieth’s odds of winning one this year, however, seem better than anyone else’s given what he is learning under major championship heat. He has given himself excellent chances to win the last five. That’s extraordinary. It’s his ability to keep giving himself chances that makes me believe he’ll snag another one this year. In fact, it’s the fight he showed giving himself a chance last weekend at the Masters without his best stuff that makes me believe he’ll overcome his failure there and keep this hot run going in majors.

Even after Spieth’s quadruple bogey at the 12th, there was no quit in him. Given the emotions that had to be boiling inside, that was something. He fought back from that debacle with a couple birdies. A year ago, he showed us he isn’t a one-trick pony at Augusta National. He showed us he can fit his game to different tests with his victory at Chambers Bay and his close calls at St. Andrews and Whistling Straits.


By JAY COFFIN

Spieth will not win a major this year, but it won’t be because there’s any sort of lingering shrapnel from his devastating Masters meltdown. It’ll be because, well, it’s just plain difficult to win majors. Tiger Woods made it look easy, he made us believe that the best of any era going forward should win majors at an irregular clip. That’s simply not how it works.

Will Spieth contend in a major this year? Likely. The Open Championship at Troon would be my best guess. But winning two last year was an enormous feat. It doesn’t mean he’s going to win one a year for each of the next 10 years.

Spieth will go years without winning majors. In fact, he’ll go many years without winning a major and he’ll do it more often than he will go years with winning one. This year will be one of those where he won’t. And it’ll have nothing to do with the demons planted from Augusta National.


By JOE POSNANSKI

The odds are always against any one player winning a major in a given year, even the best in the world. Tiger in his prime did not win a major in 2003 or 2004. Jack Nicklaus, from 1968 to 1979, had six years where he failed to win a major. There are only three left, and I think you would have to say that odds are against Spieth winning any of the three, especially because his favorite, the Masters, is already over.

That said, I don’t think there will be a significant hangover from his Masters collapse. He’s enough of a golf fan to know that this sort of thing happens to everybody, perhaps not as dramatically but Palmer, Player, Watson, Nicklaus and even Woods all faltered Sunday at a major championship.

I think Spieth should be in contention many times, which is how you pile up the majors. But if I had to bet will he or won’t he this year, I’d bet no.