AUGUSTA, GA. – Jordan Spieth is 23. He has played in four Masters tournaments. He has won one, and finished second twice.
He would seem to be too young to own a green jacket, and certainly too young to have encountered demons, and yet he already has made room for both in his closet.
Spieth teed off in the second group on Sunday at the Masters having posted a dramatic 68 on Saturday. He was the sentimental favorite because of his youth and fire, and a betting favorite because of his precocious dominance of Augusta National.
Haunted by one disastrous hole that cost him the 2016 Masters, Spieth on this Sunday invited no such drama. He shot a 75 and finished tied for 11th, raising questions about whether his worst moments at Augusta National could make playing the Masters more difficult as he ages.
He overcame making a quadruple-bogey 9 on Thursday but could not overcome a day of uncharacteristically shaky ball-striking and putting on Sunday.
Afterward, Spieth employed Tiger Woods’ old strategy of pretending he had played better than his score indicated, saying, “It was one of those days that I shot 75, but, boy, it felt like a really good …’’
It wasn’t a good result or a good pairing. Spieth and his friend Ricky Fowler started the day in the second group and finished tied for 11th.
“The galleries here are always great,’’ Fowler said. “Yeah, it would have been nice if we could have given them a reason to get a little louder. But unfortunately we didn’t do a whole lof of that.’’
Fowler bogeyed the last three holes to shoot a 76. Spieth needed to birdie three of the last four holes to salvage his 75.
Was he shocked? “No, not shock,’’ he said. “I guess just a bit bizarre. I don’t know if that’s a feeling, but just a little bizarre. But I’m taking a lot of positives out of this week, I really am. I’m not going to beat myself up whatsoever over today.’’
He has had a chance to win each of the four Masters in which he has played. He has won one. He has contended, he has won, and he has faltered. He has had so much success that his disappointments surprise.