It seems sacrilegious to say it, but the back nine at the Masters on Sunday was, well, a little boring. Bubba Watson caught Jordan Spieth at the tail end of the front nine and played the rest of the way with been-there, done-that moxie.
Of course, maybe that’s because Watson, unlike Spieth, actually had been there and done that. He won his first Masters in 2012.
“I never want to say that the back nine on Masters Sunday is boring, but the real fireworks were on the front nine,” Golf Week senior writer David Dusek said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Bubba Watson wins the Masters not necessarily on the back, but on the front.”
Watson and Spieth, the 20-year-old wunderkind, entered Sunday tied at 5-under. Spieth was seeking to become the youngest player to ever win the Masters and hit several great shots on the front nine, but Watson matched him – and, on some holes, surpassed him. Once Watson passed Spieth and took the lead, it was all but over.
“It was all done but the shouting at that point,” Dusek said. “A little bit of a flat finish, but still, it’s going to end up being one of the most exciting golf tournaments ever, and we just don’t get those kind of thrills at almost any other golf event during the year. So you got to appreciate what you got, and what we got was Bubba Watson wining his second green jacket. And what we also got is the coming-out party for Jordan Spieth – because that kid proved to everybody he’s got a lot of game.”
The saying in golf is that you make your money on the turn, on the back nine at Augusta on Sunday. Spieth still made a boatload – $972,000 isn’t a bad four days at the office – but Watson, 35, took home $1.62 million.
“I don’t blame the kid,” Dusek said. “He was in uncharted territory. Everybody’s got to get themselves bloodied up a little bit in the heat of it.”
Spieth made several uncharacteristic errors on Sunday, including two missed putts – both from four feet – on 8 and 9. Watson took it from there.
“Nobody plays a perfect round of golf; that’s not going to happen,” Dusek said. “But your margin for error when you’re playing for immortality is pretty damn slim.”
Spieth, however, shouldn’t be too devastated by his runner-up finish. Let’s not forget that Rory McIlroy shot a 40 on the final-round back nine at the Masters in 2011, blowing a four-shot lead in the process. Two months later, he won the U.S. Open.
Dusek wouldn’t be surprised if the same fate unfolded for Spieth, a Dallas native.
“We’ve got a little lull now before we head to Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Open in June, but no one’s going to be surprised if Jordan Spieth is right back in the middle of it,” Dusek said. “Maybe he wins at Pinehurtst No. 2 for his major championship. I wouldn’t be surprised.”