Our golf expert Sarah Stirk tipped up Jordan Spieth for The Masters at 12/1
Sarah Stirk’s thoughts on Jordan Spieth after he landed his first major at The Masters
Jordan Spieth was a class apart this week. He looked in total control since the opening day after that sensational round of 64.
He has such a mature head on young shoulders. A lot is made of his sister, who has learning difficulties, and his mum admitted this week Jordan wouldn’t be the guy he is without her. It helps him keep things in perspective and extremely grounded.
He doesn’t have the firepower of Rory McIlroy or Phil Mickleson’s flair, but he is the best putter in the world right now and has the most remarkable composure under pressure.
To prepare for the final round he watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall and called it ‘one of the greatest movies in the world’.
He is without question the golden boy of American golf and we in the media love him – he’s a dream to work with and his fellow pros think the same. Walking onto the range on day two after his opening 64 he was applauded by Ryan Palmer. He earns respect but is hugely popular anyway.
He’s the second youngest Masters champion in history after Tiger Woods and the comparisons are obvious. What he could achieve in the game is incredible to think. The future of golf looks very good with Rory and Jordan number one and two in the world respectively.
It’s been a great week and I hope plenty of you backed Jordan!
Update after day three (posted 12th April)
I really don’t see Jordan Spieth giving this up easily. Even though the challenge from Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson has livened up the final day.
People look to Greg Norman in 1996 and crazy things can happen on a Sunday of a major, but I think Spieth is playing too well. I also think the experience gained 12 months ago is huge and, as he’s proved, he is mature beyond his 21 years.
Interestingly I bumped into Rory McIlroy’s manager last night and he said he thought Spieth is the real deal. He also said what he’s doing right now is great for the game and it could be a brilliant rivalry with him and McIlroy at the top. If Spieth wins today he moves to number two in the world.
I believe it helps Spieth to be paired in the final group with Justin Rose and not Phil Mickelson. Justin is less of an intimidating presence and won’t have the fevered home support of Phil, a three-time Masters champion.
As for Rose, he was sensational yesterday but the start today is crucial. He’s started poorly the last two days and it’s something I discussed with Paul McGinley yesterday.
McGinley said it’s something he addressed with Justin at the Ryder Cup and is something he’s conscious of.
Update after day two (posted 11th April)
Jordan Spieth set a new 36 hole scoring record at Augusta. And in a funny way it made it quite a subdued day as he is in danger of running away from the pack without a challenge.
People want a competitive tournament and, despite seeing a player in blistering form, it’s more exciting if the leaderboard is tight.
I really can’t see him coming back to the field, he learnt so much from his runners-up finish a year ago and mentally he’s so mature for his age. He’s also a man in form. A win and two runners up finishes in his last three starts and his confidence couldn’t be higher.
Compare that to Rory McIlroy, who took a couple of weeks off prior to Augusta. He hasn’t looked sharp this week. The golf course was scoreable again today. It’s very humid which doesn’t help, but the committee will surely get the sub air system going tomorrow and dry the greens out. I’ve heard they want to get them up to 14 on the stimpmeter and Tiger Woods has been vocal in his surprise at how slow they’ve been this week.
Talking of good scores, there were 17 eagles recorded on day two, equalling the Masters record for the most in a single round. Lots of crystal to be engraved and given out! I’m loving the Saturday pairings.
Rory-Bubba is superb, Tiger-Sergio means there won’t be much chat! Day-Scott will provide plenty of birdies and Dustin and Justin need to get on a roll to put the pressure on Spieth.
Update after day one (posted 10th April)
A great day for three of my picks with Jason Day, Bill Haas and especially Jordan Spieth producing the goods. Matt Kuchar and Chris Kirk need good second rounds to bring themselves into contention.
Only three opening round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win the Masters since 1980. But I’m hoping Spieth can become the fourth – he certainly has the talent.
If you’ve backed Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy then history is against you. The last nine Masters winners have been inside the top ten after day one.
I think Tiger’s short game looked very sharp as he answered the chipping and pitching questions but a whole nine shots off the lead is a lot of ground to make up. Even at the height of his powers it would have been a tall order.
I expect the course to bite back on day two, it was soft and receptive on the opening day so the course set up is likely to be tougher for Friday.
Masters Tournament picks (posted 8th April)
The first major of the year is here and is set be a fascinating race for that coveted green jacket.
All eyes will of course be on a certain Northern Irishman, but if you’re looking for a little more value for your each way money, here are six of my top picks for this year’s Masters…
Jordan Spieth – 10/1
Experience usually counts around Augusta, but Spieth disproved that theory 12 months ago on his debut when he came up just short, which is why I think he’s going to be there or thereabout this year.
He’s in great form, winning the Valspar Championship and giving fellow Texan Jimmy Walker a run for his money last week in San Antonio.
He also possesses a mature head on young shoulders, isn’t afraid to be aggressive and is a superb putter, a must on the slick greens at Augusta.
Jason Day – 14/1
Jason loves Augusta National. He finished 2nd in 2011 and 3rd when compatriot Adam Scott slipped on the green jacket in 2013.
Again he’s in good form having taken the title at Torrey Pines. I expect big things from the affable Aussie this year if he can keep injury free and it could well be Jason’s tournament.
The spotlight is firmly on Rory and that could well help both Spieth and Day.
Matt Kuchar – 33/1
As an each way bet, Kooch is hard to look past!
The American is the PGA Tour’s ‘ATM machine’, racking up more top tens than any other player.
He doesn’t win enough for the level of consistency he shows, but he’s a very solid player.
This will be his 9th appearance at Augusta and he can boast 3 tops tens, with 3rd in 2012 his best showing so far.
Bill Haas – 80/1
A low key American who I rate very highly. He’s a 6 time Tour winner, picking up the last of those earlier this year at the Humana Challenge.
He’s a tall powerhouse with a smooth looking swing, but also has great touch on the greens.
This will be his 6th appearance at Augusta, having made the cut every year, plus he has a couple of top 20 finishes over the previous two editions.
Shane Lowry – 100/1
The 28 year old Irishman will be making his Augusta debut this year and as an outsider I like his chances.
As I alluded too with Speith, it’s a tough ask for debutants to come here and impress and history really does suggest experience is key around here.
However, Shane has had a great year so far in the States and confidence is high, having recently tied for seventh in the Farmers Insurance Open, shared 21st in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and tied for 17th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Chris Kirk – 100/1
One of the most under rated American’s on the PGA Tour.
He’s a steely competitor with a funky looking swing who slips under the radar, thanks to his laid back personality.
He narrowly missed out on a Ryder Cup spot having won the Deutsche Bank Championship at the end of last season, holding off Rory McIlroy down the stretch.
His natural shot shape is a draw, perfect for Augusta and he finished a very creditable 20th last year on his debut.