AUGUSTA, Ga. – The problem with contending at the Masters as a 20-year-old, if you consider it a problem, is that the expectations to contend the following year as a 21-year-old are enormous.
Enter Jordan Spieth, the fourth-ranked player in the world, who tied for second place last year at the Masters and was in the thick of things Sunday until bogeys at Nos. 8, 9 and 12 at Augusta National unraveled him quickly. He tied with Jonas Blixt, three shots behind Bubba Watson.
Since that day Spieth has been a beast on the PGA Tour. First, he joined Patrick Reed at the Ryder Cup last fall to provide a bright spot for the U.S. squad during an otherwise forgettable event. He’s now rattled off three victories in the last five months and has top-four finishes in four of his last five events.
“I think I remember being in here [last year] saying I had no expectations, didn’t know what it was going to be like,” Spieth said Tuesday. “This year, I come in maybe expecting to play well on a course I feel very comfortable on.
“It can be a good and a bad thing. Part of me wants to improve on last year and that’s my goal. … Another part of me says, 'You know, let’s not overthink this place, keep it simple, and make it like a regular event because that’s how I’ve had success in the last few tournaments.'”
More than anything, nerves bothered Spieth last year. The pressure was insurmountable.
“The hardest lesson taking from last year was that I had an opportunity to make a dream come true and I had it in my hands and then I was a little anxious.”
If Spieth is in position again this weekend, he believes he will handle it better.
“Looking to give myself a chance when the weekend comes around and see what I’m made of,” he said.