Masters 2016: Spieth’s collapse, Willett’s triumph

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The Masters - Final Round
2015 champion, Jordan Spieth, puts the green jacket on Danny Willett after his win on Sunday. Willett became the first English golfer to win the Masters Tournament since 1996. – Sunday, April 10 (USA TODAY Sports)

Caleb Bailey, Sports Editor

The 2016 Masters have come and gone and the dust is just settling at Augusta National just a few hours west of here. It was as exciting as one could imagine the sport of golf to be and one man was able to rise up to the occasion after nearly not even being able to compete in the annual tournament.

Danny Willett was just rolling into the parking lot at Augusta National and was the last golfer to get his name signed on the dotted line. Just weeks before, his wife gave birth to their first child and he knew he wanted to bring home the green jacket, not just for him, but for the entire country of England.

The last time an English golfer won the green jacket was nearly 20 years to the day that Willett slipped it on Sunday afternoon. Nick Faldo last won the tournament in 1996 and Willett wanted to bring it back home.

There was, however, one giant force standing in his way. That force was defending champion Jordan Spieth and he was looking to dominate once again.

His lead was not as commanding as it had looked days before going into Sunday’s final round, but Spieth wasn’t rattled. With just a one stroke lead over fellow youngster Smylie Kaufman, he went on a tear, sinking four straight birdies in the front nine, building a four-stroke lead that looked big to overcome.

However, it was not the same story on the back nine for Spieth. He went on a historically bad three-hole run, hitting a bogey on holes 10 and 11 and then hitting a Masters-worst quadruple bogey on hole 12, dropping him out of the lead for the first time in eight rounds, dating back to when he finished second to Bubba Watson in the 2014 tournament.

Willett, on the other hand, took advantage of Spieth’s slip-up and went on a run to to take a lead. He finished three holes earlier than Spieth and went into the clubhouse with a three-stroke lead and all he could do was wait and watch.

Spieth had to make up the difference and needed to birdie the last three holes to do just that. Throughout the 2016 tournament, however, he had been over par for every hole on the last three.

While he did not shoot that bad, Spieth could not make up the difference and it was all smiles for Willett in the clubhouse.

On a Sunday that three different golfers hit a hole-in-one on the same hole for the first time in Masters history and one of the world’s best golfers go on a disastrous run, Willett, who had never finished better than sixth at a major championship, did the impossible.

And just think, his wife was originally supposed to give birth on April 10.


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