Well none of my top 14 from last month’s predictions came through in the 2016 Masters. I was looking pretty good through 65 holes and then the bottom fell out for the history maker Jordan Spieth. Jordan made history for holding the lead for the most consecutive rounds with seven. He over took the King. But, the story was the last man in won the tournament. Danny Willett, a very good European Tour player, was supposed to miss the event for the birth of he and his wife’s first child. As fate would have it, the baby came early and he registered at the last minute to get into the Masters. His caddie’s overall number was 89. Oh…by the way this was the number by Jack Nicklaus II when the Golden Bear won his sixth Masters 30 years ago. Once again the Masters was not won, it was lost on the back nine of the final round.
At the start of the day, Jordan had control and it looked like a great defense of his 2015 title. However, you have heard it before that the Masters begins on the last nine on Sunday. This Sunday would be no different. Were you as shocked to see the implosion as I was on the famed 12th hole? History repeats itself but was extremely cruel on this occasion. Jordan hit it in the water on 12 this year, the same as he did in 2015. The difference this year was he decided to go to a yardage that he thought was good and dumped it again. Tom Weiskopf did the same thing as Jordan many years ago. The difference is Weiskopf dumped in the water from the same spot Jordan used for his third shot. It has been noted that when you hit it in the water on 12, you should re-tee and hit it to the middle of the green. If he had done that this story would have been written differently. You have heard the saying, “If and buts are not candy and nuts,” Jordan would have defended. It was not to be.
As fate would have it, the best player on Sunday was a guy that became a new father 12 days before. Humm, there’s that number 12 again. Omen??? Danny Willett was the hottest player on the back nine and took charge. Your Masters Champion was a guy that many had never heard of, if you don’t follow the European Tour. The European Tour players know him and now you do, too. We will see a lot more of Danny Willett so get use to seeing his name at the top of the leaderboard. His life has been forever changed. He has decided to parlay that win to accepting membership on the PGA Tour. Can you blame him? The money is better on the PGA Tour and, oh by the way, his lifetime endorsements for winning a major is approximately $30 million. This does not include his first place winner’s check of nearly $2 million.
For Jordan Spieth, he will boounce back and my early prediction has him defending (winning) the U.S. Open at Oakmont. Rory McIlroy blew his chance at the Masters on the back nine a few years ago and what did he do, he blew the field away in the U.S. Open at Congressional. Could we see this happen again? I believe so, as Jordan has great intestinal fortitude. However for now and forever, Danny Willett will be announced each PGA Tour event as the Masters Champion. What a great birthday gift for his new son. Congratulations.
In the meantime, be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on ArizonaSports 98.7 FM or on the internet at www.arizonasports.com for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.