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Jordan Spieth and the 10 Best Things From the 2015 Masters

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

From Tiger’s comeback to an ace from the Golden Bear, there was a lot to love about this year’s tournament.

Jordan Spieth and the 10 Best Things From the 2015 Masters

The tradition unlike any other has concluded. Jordan Spieth won the 79th Masters Tournament and did so in completely dominating fashion. Along with the latest recipient of the famed Green Jacket, here are the 10 Best Things from the 2015 Masters.

1. Welcome, Jordan Spieth

Playing in his second Masters, many predicted that Spieth would emerge victorious, especially considering his second-place finish last year. No one anticipated Spieth dominating like he did. Spieth became the first player to win the Masters in wire-to-wire fashion since Raymond Floyd accomplished the feat 39 years ago. Spieth smashed records all weekend long, from tying Tiger Woods with an astonishing (-18) score, lowest in major history, to becoming the first player to reach (-19) at The Masters. Spieth was dialed in all weekend, and though there were some trying moments, this tournament was always Spieth's to lose. Based on Spieth's consistency and performance over the last two years, I think it's safe to say he's firmly here to stay among the game's top players.

2. Playing To Win

It may have just been Spieth's ordinary playing style, but even when he went to the back nine with a five-shot advantage on Sunday, he still kept his foot firmly on the pedal. Case in point: his gutsy approach shot on the Par-5 13th Hole. Spieth hit his 3-wood to within 210 yards, and with an uneven lie hit a gutsy 5-iron that barely cleared the creek but came in at a great trajectory and set himself up for a 12-foot eagle putt. 

Via Business Insider

That shot came immediately after a three-putt on the 12th Hole, and his lead was just four at the time. Obviously, a yard shorter and who knows what Spieth ends up doing or how the rest of the round plays out. But by sticking to his guns and playing to win, Spieth ensured himself a birdie on the hole and further distanced himself from Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose.

3. Tiger Woods' Comeback

Coming into The Masters, it was really unclear what we were going to get from Tiger. He hadn't played competitively in over two months and his short game was previously in shambles. But Tiger represented himself far better than I had anticipated. His short game was superb, and it was his driving and iron game that actually got him into the most trouble. Not only did he make the cut at (-2), but his 68 on Saturday put him into one of the final three pairings on Sunday. Though his final round 73 was a touch anticlimactic (and a potential wrist injury canceled out any real shot at a comeback, The fact that Tiger had a miraculous outside chance at contention on Sunday was more than anyone could have asked for. 

4. The Tiger/Rory Sunday Pairing

In a piece of corporate synergy that Nike's overlords were probably dreaming of all week long, Tiger Woods and his heir apparent at the Swoosh Rory McIlroy were paired together for the final round just a week after the touching McIlroy commercial aired. The best case scenario would have been for the pair to both start off hot and push each other into contention. Unfortunately, neither got things going early, though McIlroy did finish with a (-6) round that pushed his cumulative score to (-12) for the tournament.

5. Mickelson's Still Got It

With another runner-up finish (the tenth of his career), Mickelson very nearly gave Spieth some cause for concern midway through the final round. Mickelson had a few untimely bogeys that spoiled any realistic chance at a fourth Green Jacket, especially with how well he was playing, but his (-14) overall score would have been good enough to win or at least force a playoff in 21 of the last 25 Masters Tournaments. Mickelson still has plenty of length and his touch around the green is always pristine. He is very much a contender in the future majors.

6. Ben Crenshaw's Farewell

At the age of 63, two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw played in his final competitive tournament over the weekend. Though it would have been fitting to see him make the cut and go out on Sunday instead of Friday, Crenshaw was still greeted with a warm and appreciative applause from all the patrons when he made his final walk towards the 18th green. The entire week was a wonderful celebration of Crenshaw's career and his iconic victories at Augusta, and it was all handled very well.

7. Jack Nicklaus's Hole-In-One

Jack Nicklaus. Augusta. Ace. I don't care that it was during the Par-3 Contest, it was still awesome to see a 75-year-old drop in a hole-in-one, especially a great like Nicklaus.

8. Scoring All Around

Starting with Spieth's assault of the golf course, the scoring was pretty consistent all weekend long, which made for some entertaining golf. Dustin Johnson became the first golfer to record three eagles in a single round on Saturday, and on Sunday 15 golfers shot 69 or better including low rounds of 66 from McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama. So the level of play on the course was quite exceptional around Spieth.

9. A Youth Movement To Get Behind

Jim Nantz was quick to christen the new "rivalry" between Spieth and McIlroy, now the two premier young golfers in the game. At 21 and 25, respectively, these two young players occupy the top two spots in the world rankings. Still, it's not as much a rivalry as a welcome influx of new talent to complement the old guard of Woods, Mickelson and company. Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Matsuyama, Russell Henley and a host of skilled young players are starting to come into their own, and the surge of talent is making for some excellent and highly competitive golf.

10. The Azaleas

What can I say. Those azaleas in bloom are just a thing of beauty. Augusta National in high definition was able to keep me inside on a beautiful Sunday, and I was treated to some amazing golf at the most beautiful course in the world.

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