Jordan Spieth’s week at Royal St. George’s is one of what-ifs. What if he hadn’t missed a one-foot putt on No. 18 in the third round? What if he hadn’t played the first six holes in two over on Sunday? What if Collin Morikawa hadn’t played nearly flawless golf on the weekend? The list goes on and on.
Despite the disappointment of a near-miss at a major, Spieth had a terrific week. If not for one of those what-ifs, he might be drinking from his second Claret Jug.
But even though he didn’t secure major title No. 4, he still made history this week at The Open. Spieth’s 72-hole total of 267 — good for 13 under — tied the lowest score for a runner-up at the championship, matching Phil Mickelson’s performance from 2016 when he was bested by Henrik Stenson.
“I’m upset because I really felt like I played well enough to win and made a couple of really dumb mistakes that possibly, if I had maybe played the week before, wouldn’t have made,” Spieth said. “But at the same time, I did everything I could in the past few hours to win this championship.”
The 27-year-old had a fair share of missed opportunities this week, but none loomed larger than bogeying the final two holes of the third round. The two dropped shots — one with a wedge in hand from the fairway, and the other a three-putt from 15 feet — kept Spieth out of the final pairing.
“I’ve been in that position a lot of times, and it’s a lot nicer when stuff’s happening in front of you,” he said. “When you’re the last to come in you’ve got the last chance on 18, and I think that’s the easiest place to come from, especially when it’s easier conditions.”
Ultimately, two shots ended up being the difference. And while Spieth did make history this week, another year with the Claret Jug would have been the preferable prize.