By Ron Patey
Jordan Spieth’s record-breaking and tying binge at the Masters alters the iconic tournament’s history book more than the tailor will alter Spieth’s new Green Jacket. The 21-year-old Texan was the man who stuck with the plan that he and caddy Michael Greller put together for attacking Augusta National Golf Club. The historic result turned out to be a wire-to-wire victory that was the first at the prestigious venue since Raymond Floyd accomplished the amazing feat in 1976.
Spieth established new marks for carding the lowest opening round by the champion (64) and becoming the youngest 18-hole leader in Masters history. He also posted the 36-hole scoring record (130), carded the 54-hole scoring record (200) and drained the most birdies ever at the Georgia layout (28). His tournament-winning 18-under 270 total tied the stellar performance Tiger Woods posted in 1997. Spieth had made it to 19-under before he dropped a shot on the 72nd hole.
Spieth was also the first runner-up from the year before to win the next year since his mentor, friend and fellow Texan Ben Crenshaw (who played in his 44th and last Masters) did it in 1984. He moves to the number-two slot in the world golf rankings behind Rory McIlroy. The new one-two young guns rivalry sets up the rest of the 2015 campaign as the official dawning of a new era for the PGA Tour.
Next On The Tee: RBC Heritage
Jordan Spieth has decided not to take a break after winning his first major at Augusta. Spieth confirmed Sunday night that he is in the RBC Heritage field, where he showed well in 2013 (T9) and 2014 (T12).
Matt Kuchar returns as the defending RBC Heritage champion. Kuchar, who chipped in on the final hole to edge Luke Donald in last year’s event, arrives at Harbour Town Golf Links in a dry spell after a T3 in the Sony Open and a T2 at the Humana Challenge in late January. His best finish since was T15 in the Valero Texas Open; he exited the Masters T46. A victory would position Kuchar alongside Davis Love III, Payne Stewart and Boo Weekley as back-to-back champions of the event.
Donald heads for the South Carolina resort town looking to finally close the deal. The track features tight fairways and smaller-than-average greens, which have proved to suit Luke’s game in the past. The Englishman has gone low consistently at Harbour Town, 47-under in his six previous appearances, with three second-place finishes and two third spots on his record.
The course will be covered in past titleholders, including Graeme McDowell (2013), Carl Pettersson (2012), Brandt Snedeker (2011), Jim Furyk (2010), Boo Weekley (2008 and 2007), Aaron Baddeley (2006), Stewart Cink (2004 and 2000), Justin Leonard (2002) and Tom Watson (1982 and 1979). Notable players teeing it up at Harbour Town this week are Jason Dufner, Ernie Els, Matt Every, Russell Henley, FedExCup champ Billy Horschel, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel.
Daniel Berger and Justin Thomas are set to join Spieth as representatives of the next generation of superstars. Harbour Town Golf Links plays 7,101 yards long and is a par 71.
Favorites: Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Boo Weekley, Charl Schwartzel
Players To Watch: Charley Hoffman, Carl Pettersson, Billy Horschel, Jim Furyk, Daniel Berger
Ron Patey covered the golf industry for 21 years as a special sections editor with Sun Media. During the past five years, Patey has been a golf writer for Examiner.com.