Jordan Spieth won his first major in record-setting fashion at Augusta National on Sunday, finishing with an 18-under-270 to become the first wire-to-wire Masters winner since Raymond Floyd 1976.
Spieth, who shot a two-under 70 in the final round, tied the four-day mark set by Tiger Woods in 1997. He also set the 36-hole record at 14-under 130, the 54-hole record at 16-under-200, had the lowest opening round by a champion (64) and had the most birdies in Masters history (28).
What in the world did we just see?
“I think what the entire world saw was a very mature and a very composed 21-year-old champion,” PGA pro and golf analyst Brian Crowell said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “He certainly has the game. He’s probably been one of the hottest – if not the hottest – player in the world of golf for the past five, six months. But his 21 years of age just do not indicate the level of maturity this young man has.
“He’s so respectful. It’s just in many ways very refreshing. I’m excited. As a PGA professional, this is a really good sign of where the future of golf is headed, and I hope a lot of young players out there look up to Jordan Spieth and say, ‘Man, that’s the type of golfer I want to be: a respectful, sharp kid.’ So I was really, really encouraged this week.”
Spieth led by at least three shots from the opening round until the trophy presentation. He had a few misfires here and there, but he never lost focus. He never wilted under the pressure.
“I think this speaks to the environment Jordan was brought up in,” Crowell said. “He has a sister with special needs. He just has a great deal of respect for all the things that are important in life. He’s really appreciative of his family, and he calls his sister, Ellie, his biggest inspiration. I just think this kid is wise beyond his years and he’s very grounded. If anyone watched the post-round press conferences (Sunday), they saw someone who is just – like I said – very refreshing. I think he’s going to do great things for golf.”
But can Spieth fill the Tiger Woods void? Can his game and personality attract marginal golf fans?
“I think you’re asking a great question,” Crowell said. “I think that remains to be seen. A lot of comparisons are being drawn here far too early between Tiger and Jordan Spieth: totally different environment, different upbringing. Tiger, as we know, was bred to be a champion. That was his total focus since he could walk. Jordan, I think, is a little less driven to reach a specific goal, like 19 majors, which is what Tiger is after – one better than Jack Nicklaus.
“But I just think Jordan is this clean cut All-American kid that may actually reach a new audience. Tiger certainly had moved the needle more than any other player since Arnold Palmer, as far as I can tell. He grew the audience and interest in golf like no other player, and I appreciate that, especially as a PGA pro. But Jordan, I think, is going to do it in his own way with a more grounded and more wholesome approach, and I’m really excited about that. This kid is just everything good about golf.”