After Further Review: Spieth joins Norman in Masters lore

Each week, 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

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'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”