And he still can’t believe how he got there.
South African Retief Goosen all but threw away the chance to win the 2001 USA Open at Southern Hills when he missed a two-foot putt on the final hole, though he went on to beat American Mark Brooks the next day in an 18-hole playoff.
He made birdie on the final hole. “It was a very intense back nine”, the Associated Press reported. Jordan Spieth makes an excellent champion, on and off the course.
“He’s the one that got me started in the game”. A month after Spieth won his first pro event as a PGA Tour rookie, he was a witness at a wedding on the grounds between his caddie, Michael Greller, and the ex- Ellie Morris.
Spieth has played in the JDC the past three years. In 2014 at Hoylake, he placed 36th at two under par, and in 2013 at Muirfield, he placed 44th at 10 over. However, being tied for 4 will boost his world ranking and set the stage for future Major championships. A wire-to-wire runaway at Augusta National. He turned toward Puget Sound, pumped his fist and yelled, “YEAH!”
One player that didn’t have that issue was Jordan Spieth.
Spieth is the youngest player to win two majors since Gene Sarazen in 1922. Like Spieth, Johnson hit a monster tee shot that found the fairway, then put the ball within 16 feet of the cup. He drilled a 3-wood off the back slope to 15 feet and two-putted for his birdie and a 69 to finish at 5-under 275.
Chambers Bay was roundly dismissed by players screaming blue kill at the state of the greens, yet it produced a pulsating end and it all unfolded at a hole dismissed as “dumb” by Spieth in its par-four configuration. He had another birdie putt to force a playoff, but he missed that too, handing the title to Spieth.
“I think it’s in the realm of possibility”, said Spieth when asked if he could add the Open and USA PGA to his haul this year. “To watch that happen, I feel for Dustin”.
Spieth now prepares for St. Andrews, the next stop on this improbable ride. While McIlroy will remain No. 1 in the next Official World Golf Ranking, no player has been as successful as Spieth in 2015. The conditions were a bit insane, but as with all Major championships, the best players always find a way to be in contention on Sunday.
“You know”, he said, “That bag gets pretty light late in the afternoon of a major”.
“When I look back, obviously the last few holes of this golf course haven’t been kind to me all week”.
But a three-putt on the par-three 15th took the wind out of his sails and two holes later another dropped shot effectively ended his challenge.
It was Spieth who salvaged this Open, making it one to remember for all the right reasons instead of the wrong.
“On the last green, I was thinking, this is why I’m here”, Johnson said. Those names are the greatest that have ever played the game, and I don’t consider myself there.
“I played really well, I didn’t make any putts today,” Johnson said. “He very well could have hit a good putt and it could have bounced or it just took a break…” When I finished, I was just hoping to be playing tomorrow. He closed with a 74 to finish five shots behind.
Fellow Australian Adam Scott had the clubhouse lead at the three-under for most of the day after a scintillating six-under 64, but was forced to settle for a share of fourth spot.