April 12, 2016
You see it all the time in the sporting news, the expected winner doesn’t pull through and it gets labeled a choke job and a major disappointment. Yes, the Englishman, Danny Willet did win the 2016 Masters and did deserve it just like Jordan Spieth didn’t choke the tournament. Spieth had a bad 12th hole and it will be remembered as the defining moment of this tournament and the largest deficit to be overcome on the final nine. Chalk up that misfortune and to many other failures in the history of professional golf tournament play.
What most of those who actually watched the Masters, knew that Danny Willet was playing steady and consistently throughout. He wasn’t making a lot of birdies until when he really needed them on the back nine on the last day. He recorded the low score of the day, 67, to me, that is championship golf, stay close and put together a run at the end. Bravo!
Those same Masters viewers saw Spieth bogey the 10th and 11th and in the back of their mind thought this thing is still open to a couple of guys to win. Sure enough, the infamous 12th hole became his Waterloo and his hopes of winning the Masters was washed away. Spieth was in the driver’s seat for the whole tournament and that in itself is incredible. The young man is playing above the rest of the field and probably will learn more from those three holes than any other for the duration of his career.
Danny Willet is a great story and a humbled young man and golfer. He didn’t know if he was even going to play prior to the tournament due to the birth of his son. He was the last golfer to arrive at Augusta and took the number 89, the same number Jack Nicklaus wore in 1986 to win the tourney. In the post-match interviews, he knew how his victory came at the expense of another golfers failings and he was very humble in victory. On the contrary, all of the big-time golfers know, that could happen to anybody in any tournament.
This year’s tournament was a Jordan Spieth highlight reel along with an unheralded player snatching the victory. Lost in the hoopla were the three hole in ones recorded on hole 16 which has never happened in Masters history. Davis Love III and Shane Lowry both recorded aces along with a bank shot by Louis Oosthuizen that stands as the most incredible in Masters history. For a lot of years, the Masters is a marginally entertaining event without drama but this year delivered the goods with a thrill of victory and agony of defeat. If Jordan Spieth would have won wire to wire, everybody would be singing his praises for years. The tables are turned and the story has changed to how both Jordan Spieth and Danny Willet come out of this tournament and the evolution of their careers.