Mendoza: Spieth is back

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

Jordan Spieth is back. He won the Texas Open on Monday, April 5, 2021 (PH time) to end one of golf’s longest slumps.

It took 1,351 days for Spieth to rise from his tomb—he is no Jesus, to be clear—dating back from his 2017 British Open win.

Spieth took it unemotionally. What a guy.

“I honestly thought that I would be more emotional at the end, but I’m not,” Spieth said. “It was a fun battle today.”

Come again?

How could it be fun?

Although he was always pushing back the veteran Charley Hoffman out of the way, mainly with a putter that was as hot as a Manila sun at the height of summer, Spieth didn’t see a clear path towards his rebirth until the 17th hole was done.

After Hoffman, 44, who matched Spieth’s front-nine 33 to stay two shots off the pace, buried a 20-foot birdie on 16 to get to within one, he faced an 18-footer on 17.

Sink it and Hoffman will tie Spieth for the lead at the Greg Norman-designed course.

He missed.

Spieth made his for his third birdie on his final six holes, recording his 11th one-putt on a day that saw him close out with a neat six-under-par 66 for a two-shot win over Hoffman with an 18-under-par total.

So dramatic was Spieth’s nail-biter of a win that almost forgotten was his being only the fifth player in 40 years to record a 12th Tour victory before turning 28—in the company of Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and, yes, Tiger Woods.

But before the slump-ending win, Spieth lost all three 54-hole leads since February in his continuing collapse after winning the Masters and US Open in 2015, and the British Open in 2017.

Such is golf’s hyperbole that, most often than not, it defies logic.

In describing Hoffman’s dogged determination, Spieth said: “I was like, c’mon Charley, throw me a bone, please?”

Said Hoffman, who also finished with a 66: “I’ve lost, I’ve won, but today, Jordan won. Hats off to him.”

Portentous is Spieth’s win as the Masters, golf’s most prestigious major, begins on April 9, (PH time) in Augusta, Georgia, whose hallowed grounds I had kissed the minute I arrived there to cover the 1991 Masters.

In his 11 PGA victories in 2015-2017, Spieth won nine of the 12 times that he held a 54-hole lead.

C’mon, place your bets. For Spieth?