Jordan Spieth's disaster, 9 shots at little devil

This year, the worst (so far) befell Jordan Spieth, who had to mark a heavy 9 on the scorecard at the 15th hole

by Andrea Gussoni
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Jordan Spieth's disaster, 9 shots at little devil
© Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Sport

It's the great plays, the memorable shots that either find the hole or narrowly miss it, that captivate the Augusta crowd lining the sidelines with their green chairs from early morning, ready to applaud, celebrate, and be part of a unique stage for the beauty of its holes and to witness the memorable shots of golf's greatest players.

Here, history is made. Unpredictable like no other tournament, the Masters prepares everything to perfection, including its artfully placed traps that offer a new strategic lesson every year. Those who make it to the tee of the first hole know it, but they're never quite prepared for the worst.

So, while world number one Scottie Scheffler gains six shots in the first round of this 88th edition without losing a single one (and only three in the first two days), there are those who must hang their heads and suffer much more serious losses in just one hole that puts an end to their journey.

"Masters Disasters."

Jordan Spieth, results

This year, the worst (so far) befell Jordan Spieth, who had to mark a heavy 9 on the scorecard at the 15th hole. All within eighty meters, where he was with his second shot. He ended up long past the green, then on the return, the ball inexorably rolled towards the water on the opposite side for fifteen endless meters, almost in slow motion in complete silence.

Then a chorus of dismay when, with the final roll, it ended up in the stream. Here, the patrons rejoice with the champions and suffer with them. With Jordan Spieth, the patrons, who hold the memories (both good and bad) of the tournament, had rejoiced in 2015 when he won, and they were still with him until his triumph was shattered the following year at the disaster of the 12th hole: he sank two balls into the water in front of the green and with them, the chance of a second green jacket.

It's a hole that truly deserves the nickname of "little devil": a marvelous creature to admire and fear, with the wind bouncing among the tall pines and the uncertainty of the club to play. Francesco Molinari remembers it well, as he arrived there as the leader on Sunday with a two-shot lead in 2019: but he ended up in the water, lost the lead, and with it, the tournament shortly after.

No discount for Tiger in 2020, who closed the hole in ten shots. But the worst of all was Tom Weiskopf in 1980: here, he scored a catastrophic 13 after sending five balls into the water, the worst result ever in an Augusta hole.

To match the negative record, one must wait until 2018 and defending champion Sergio Garcia, this time at the 15th: a short approach from about sixty meters that just doesn't work for him five times, due to a combination of the ball spinning back, green speed, and slope.

An innocuous shot that turns into a tragedy and another 13 in the annals. And since, as history shows, the Masters only truly begins with the second nine holes on Sunday (where the pressure is high and anything can happen), how can we forget the twenty-one-year-old Rory (2011) leading by one shot on the tee of the 10th: but here, his ball goes left, hits a tree, and ends up in the woods between two houses.

Then more trees hit to finish the hole in 7 shots and continue disoriented until the end. From leader to fifteenth place in the final standings.

Jordan Spieth
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