The Masters: Spieth sets sights on second green jacket

By Sports Desk April 04, 2023

Jordan Spieth is looking to add a second green jacket to his collection, revealing the Masters inspired him to focus on golf.

A winner at Augusta in 2015, aged just 21, Spieth has been unable to secure a second victory at the event and is now braced for his 10th appearance there.

Having secured a triumph at that young age, a second Masters win seemed to be inevitable for Spieth, especially after he won the US Open in the same year, but he has so far fallen short.

In 2016, Spieth finished second and, since then, has had two third-place finishes, the most recent in 2021, all of which put Spieth within touching distance of the title he is desperate to get his hands on again.

It is not just the green jacket that drives Spieth, however, as he shared the personal significance the event has.

"I really fell in love with the game because of this tournament, back to Tiger [Woods'] chip-in to Phil [Mickelson's] first win," he said.

"These were kind of heroic moments when I was at an age where I was playing some other sports and loving golf, and it inspired me to really take up the game and see what kind of moments you can create, because the ball is always in your hands.

"Few things are as electric as those moments they had in sports. I wanted to create my own. From the moment I got here I was always very excited, and I wanted to learn it and fall in love with it. Just a lot of positivity.

"I didn't know what to expect and got off to a nice start my first year and tried to carry it on every year. Yeah, 10th appearance now feels crazy, and I hopefully can match some of those greats that played in how many over the years, I don't know what the record is.

"You guys probably know. It would be pretty special, but at the same time when you get opportunities at a young age and you feel good about your chances, I want to win it again.

"That's the goal. And was able to get a round in yesterday with my brother, which was really fun, and get to work today."

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    Rahm had insisted his competitive edge had not been dulled by his move to LIV Golf ahead of his attempt to become just the fourth player to win back-to-back Masters titles.

    The Spaniard’s shock move to the Saudi-backed breakaway came after he had previously pledged his loyalty to the PGA Tour and criticised LIV’s 54-hole format, with no cut and a shotgun start as “not a golf tournament”.

    The two-time major winner has failed to win any of the five LIV events he has played to date, but travelled to Augusta on the back of finishing fourth in Miami on Sunday and winning the team event at Doral.

    However, the Ryder Cup star was never a factor in the year’s first major and added a third round of 72 on Saturday to remain five over par after previous scores of 73 and 76.

    That 76 had been compiled in fiendishly difficult conditions on Friday, with winds gusting up to 40mph sending scores soaring and leaving Rahm querying whether play should have been suspended.

    “A couple of times I was questioning myself why we were out there, especially when I got to 18 and saw the whole front of the green just full of sand,” Rahm said after his round.

    “I can imagine they were very close to calling it a few times, especially when we were on 11 green and we were getting those massive gusts every couple of minutes or so. It was extremely difficult.

    “Not only that, how long did it take us to play? Over six hours to play just because they had to blow the greens in between groups.”

    Rahm’s successor as Masters champion will earn USD 3.6million (£2.89m) on Sunday, up by USD 360,000 (£289,000) from last year, after tournament officials announced the overall prize fund had been increased from USD 18m (£14.4m) to USD 20m (£16m).

    Rory McIlroy will not be presented with a green jacket by his Ryder Cup team-mate after failing to play his way back into contention on Saturday, the world number two quickly giving himself more work to do with a bogey on the first.

    A birdie on the par-five second repaired the damage before McIlroy three-putted the sixth and missed from five feet for birdie on the next, although he did convert from the same distance on the par-five eighth.

    Tiger Woods had also refused to give up hope of an unlikely sixth Masters title after making a record 24th consecutive halfway cut to lie seven shots off the lead.

    However, after a superb birdie on the difficult fifth, Woods three-putted the next and ran up a double bogey on the seventh to slide further down the leaderboard.

  • Rory McIlroy bemoans slow play on ‘tough day’ at the Masters Rory McIlroy bemoans slow play on ‘tough day’ at the Masters

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    McIlroy’s birdie-free second round of 77 took an incredible six hours and two minutes to complete alongside Xander Schauffele and Scottie Scheffler, the world number one’s 72 giving him a share of the halfway lead with Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau on six under par.

    McIlroy, who slumped to four over, said: “Tough day, really tough day.

    “Just hard to make a score and just sort of trying to make as many pars as possible. I felt like I did okay. I made that bogey on 14, and even just to par the last four holes and get in the clubhouse and have a tee time tomorrow, I’m sort of pretty happy with.”

    Asked about the pace of play, McIlroy said: “It felt long, yeah. Especially that 11th hole, it felt like it took an hour to play that hole.

    “It was stop and start, hard to get into a rhythm with the conditions and obviously how slow the play was as well.”

    He continued: “I won from 10 back [at halfway] in Dubai at the start of the year, but obviously the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters are two very different golf tournaments.

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    Rory McIlroy admitted he faced an uphill task to play his way back into contention as Tiger Woods remained focused on an unlikely Masters triumph.

    McIlroy struggled to a birdie-free second round of 77 at a windswept Augusta National to fall 10 shots off the lead shared by world number one Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau.

    Woods was three shots closer to the leaders after a battling 72 saw him make a record 24th consecutive cut in the Masters, with the whole field separated by 12 shots after the cut fell at six over par.

    McIlroy said: “I won from 10 back [at halfway] in Dubai at the start of the year, but obviously the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters are two very different golf tournaments.

    “We’ll see. Hopefully the conditions are a little better. I still think I can go out and shoot a low one, get back into red numbers, and have half a chance going into Sunday.”

    Woods sounded more optimistic than McIlroy when asked to assess his position.

    “It means I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” Woods said.

    “I’m right there. It’s really bunched. The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course.”

    Shot of the day

    Former champion Danny Willett holed his approach to the eighth for an eagle.

    Statistic of the day

    Top statistician Justin Ray highlights the tough task for the chasing pack.

    Quote of the day

    “You can be made to look like an idiot out there today by not doing too much wrong” – Shane Lowry on the difficulty presented by the strong, swirling winds.

    Hardest hole

    The 11th played as the hardest hole for the second day running with just one birdie, 30 bogeys and 10 double bogeys leading to a scoring average of 4.494.
    Easiest hole

    The par-five second hole was the easiest, yielding one eagle, 42 birdies and just six bogeys for a scoring average of 4.607.

    Key tee times (all BST)

    1555 Rory McIlroy, Camilo Villegas
    1745 Tiger Woods, Tyrrell Hatton
    1915 Ludvig Aberg, Matthieu Pavon
    1935 Scottie Scheffler, Nicolai Hojgaard
    1945 Max Homa, Bryson DeChambeau

    Weather forecast

    Mostly sunny with temperatures set to reach the mid-70s. A few wind gusts to 20mph may occur between 12-5pm. Mostly sunny and warmer on Sunday, with the temperature climbing into the mid-80s.

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