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Spieth Shows Amazing Grace in Masters' Loss

By Mike Hastings

Young Jordan Spieth’s toughest challenge at the Masters this week wasn’t reading a four-foot break on a ten-foot putt.  It wasn’t deciding whether to go for it or lay up on a par 5.  In fact it came after all 72 holes were played.

At the Masters, tradition is the previous year’s winner places the green jacket on the shoulders of the new champion.  As defending champ, that duty fell to Jordan Spieth.

Normally, that is a pleasurable assignment - welcoming a fellow professional to the fraternal club of Masters champions.  It wasn’t so easy this year.

The young Texan had to somehow manage his huge disappointment.  For all intents and purposes, Spieth should have won again this year.  He was leading by five shots with just nine holes to play before imploding .

Watching him try to muster a smile as he placed the green jacket on Danny Willet was almost as painful as watching Spieth dump two shots in the water on the way to a quadruple bogey 7 on the 12th.

Spieth tried his best to smile, but the pain and disappointment was sketched on his face.

But he did manage to get the job done, as is normally the case on the golf course.  He was greeted by applause by the Augusta members who were in attendance. 

A wry smile came to his face as he must have finally realized that this too will pass.

This year’s Masters, the greatest of all golf tournaments in my opinion, glared a light on two obvious things.  The first: the Europeans hold a tremendous advantage over the American professionals at this stage, almost as great as the advantage the US used to hold when Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were in their primes.  The second: Jordan Spieth is this country’s best hope to turn that around.

Professional golf, in the post Tiger Woods era, has become a very lucrative sport.  Someone like Dustin Johnson, who folds like a cheap suit when comes time to win, still can live a lavish lifestyle by coming in fourth.

Winning just doesn’t seem to matter to the likes of him.

But it burns in the heart of Jordan Spieth, you can see it in his eyes - in times of victory, and now in defeat.

You can bet Spieth will learn from this experience, and benefit by it.  He has a heart of a champion.  You know he is already thinking about getting back next year and having Willet return the ceremonial favor.

I’m sure it will be a lot easier to smile then, for Jordan Spieth.