Jordan Spieth’s ugly quad-bogey 9 sends him to worst-ever Masters score

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth on Friday on the 18th green.

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Jordan Spieth, just three days earlier, called his shot. 

Or shots. 

In a pre-Masters press conference, he’d been asked about Augusta’s green nuances. You could hit your spot, it was noted, but if you missed your speed, you were sunk. 

Spieth, the 2015 Masters winner, expanded on the thought.

“Yes, I think there’s — especially around the greens, spin is a massive factor, but it’s also the height that it comes in at,” he said Tuesday. “Because sometimes you can have as much spin as you want on the ball, but because of the firmness of these greens, that first hop may go far enough where it’s going down a hill, even though you’ve hit a shot where, say, next week, it would end up four feet, versus a little higher one might be one foot shorter. The dispersion is so much wider here.

“So you have to have the right height and spin combinations. Some shots, the spin doesn’t matter. They have to come in landing softly, and some shots, you’d rather have them low and skiddy to be able to play up ridges and not have to land it into slopes and stuff.

“So there’s a lot of imagination, but I don’t know the place that requires more precision on a combination of height and spin, whether it’s in a bunker or out of the fairway, than you see here. Especially when you get a little bit out of position on some of these holes.

“So that’s why they always say keep it below the hole out here, because you normally have a few more options where if you are a touch off you still have a good look at par. But when you’re above the hole or pin high on a missed green, that precision just — you just have to be significantly better than most weeks.”

A solid assessment. 

Then he showed us. 

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Friday, during the finish of the Masters first round, Spieth quadruple-bogeyed the 550-yard par-5 15th through a host of errors. He entered the hole at two-over par and with hopes of maybe making the cut. He left at six-over, and his chances were basically sunk. A seven-over 79 goes down as his worst-ever score in the Masters, across 11 appearances. 

A meltdown rundown:

— Stroke one: A 303-yard tee shot down the left side of the fairway, but Spieth’s ball finishes near a collection of trees, and it’s troublesome. He can’t go for the par-5 in two. He tells that to caddie Michael Greller

— Stroke two: A lay-up to the water fronting the green. The ball goes 171 yards and finishes in the center of the fairway, 77 yards away from the hole. A smart play. Someone in the gallery says so, too.  

— Stroke three: From a downhill lie, a shot over the green. Oye. His ball takes a bounce off the back of the green, and it rolls off. 

— Stroke four: A chip into the water. This was ugly. The sequence takes 23 seconds. Spieth hits. His ball lands on the upslope of the back of the green, about 10 feet left of the flag. It rolls and and rolls, through the green, down the slope in front of the green, and into the drink. The patrons groan. 

— Stroke five: Penalty. Spieth takes his drop on the other side of the water.   

— Stroke six: From 71 yards away, Spieth nearly duplicates his third shot. His ball bounces off the back of the green and trickles off. Oye again. 

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— Stroke seven: A putt. Spieth hits, and soon after contact, he starts walking after his ball. It finishes 25 feet away. 

— Stroke eight: Putt to 2 feet. 

— Stroke nine: The end, perhaps in more ways than one. 

Notably, according to golf stats guru Justin Ray, Spieth had quadrupled the 15th previously, in 2017. That year, he tied for 11th. 

He’ll start Friday’s second round tied for 80th.  

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