By Josh Roeloffs
On Sunday in the middle of the afternoon, the final round of the Masters was seemingly over. Spieth had a commanding lead, with five birdies on the front nine, up multiple strokes heading into the back nine. If there was an athlete who would not choke on the biggest stage, it was Jordan Spieth. As viewers began to change the channel, Spieth began to slip. Bogies on holes 10 and 11 diminished his dominating lead, the viewers turned back. While Spieth struggled, Danny Willett shined. Spieth, -5, was up one stroke now heading into the 12th hole. He puts two shots into the water and quadruple bogies and is now down four strokes to Willett. Just a few hours later, Spieth is holding the green jacket and placing it on Danny Willett, the new Masters Champion.
Danny Willett is a story in himself. A 28-year-old whose wife gave birth just a week prior is now the defending Master’s champion. Willett is not even a current pro on the PGA tour as he plays in the European Tour. He delayed his PGA tour career to prepare for the upcoming birth of his child, but he and his wife talked it over decided it would be best if he played in the Masters even her delivery date was Sunday the 10th, championship Sunday. Even though the unknown, Danny Willett prepared himself for the Masters; and on the 18th green on Sunday night, it is inevitable that it was all worth it.
The media has covered Spieth’s collapse and Danny Willett’s rise to champion, but one aspect of the final day that was looked over was in the way Spieth conducted himself though the evening’s events. This was one of the most awkward green jacket ceremonies to date. Not to take away from what Willett accomplished, but Spieth could have put the nail in the coffin on the 10th, 11th, and 12th holes; instead, he tallied two bogies and a quadruple bogie. At the ceremony, Spieth, the defending Masters champion, needed to place the next green jacket on the current champion. “Obviously, I’m happy for Danny and he handled it with extreme class.” Spieth, a 22-year-old, would not have been “in the wrong” for not being classy about it, but instead, Spieth was a professional and it speaks to the greatness that Spieth has in front of him in the years to come.
At the end of the day, the 2016 Masters was one of the greatest to date. The Championship Sunday was unbelievable; Spieth’s collapse, Willett’s excellence, and the ceremony cannot be written or produced. It was golf at its finest and it truly speaks to “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”