Spieth has character to overcome Augusta meltdown


It is likely few will have been surprised by the dignified manner in which Jordan Spieth addressed the media following Sunday's unforgettable final round at the Masters.

Still just 22 years old, Spieth has long been regarded as a class act and it says much for his character that he was able to spend more than eight minutes fielding questions from reporters without losing his cool, so soon after the most intensely painful moments of his career to date.

Having seen a five-stroke lead at Augusta turn into a three-shot deficit in less than an hour, thanks largely to a quadruple-bogey seven at the 12th, an understandably emotional Spieth did his best to hide his disappointment as he presented surprise champion Danny Willett with his green jacket.

Reflecting on the traditional post-tournament formalities in the Butler Cabin, Spieth said: "I can't think of anyone else who may have had a tougher ceremony to experience.

"It was very tough, given that it's so soon after the finish. It was tough, but I thought that he [Willett] handled it with extreme class and I thought that I stood up there and smiled like I should and appreciated everybody who makes this great tournament possible."

As he summed up his feelings after being spectacularly denied another history-making triumph, Spieth added: "Big picture - this one'll hurt. It'll take a while."

However, sporting history is littered with tales of athletes who responded to setbacks by returning stronger than before - and Spieth's previous success, together with the maturity he has displayed throughout his short career, suggests he too will follow such a path.

Unlike Greg Norman, who he faces inevitable comparisons to 20 years on from the Australian's famous final-round collapse at Augusta, Spieth has already tasted Masters glory. His second runner-up finish will bring nothing but pain for now, but in time the young Texan will also be able to reflect again on the extraordinary achievement he managed 12 months ago, when he completed a wire-to-wire win with a record-equalling score.

Perhaps the best in the game when it comes to backing up dropped shots with birdies, Spieth clearly boasts determination in abundance - as illustrated by the fact he again looked set to lead after every round in Georgia despite being well short of his brilliant best from tee to green.

Even after he had put two balls in Rae's Creek at the 12th on Sunday, the world number two somehow summoned the resolve to rally once more - birdieing the 13th and 15th to get within two of Willett with three to play.

Norman was unable to add to his major tally after giving up a six-shot lead to Nick Faldo in 1996, but the 'Great White Shark' was 41 at the time of his heartbreak and it is hard to imagine Spieth failing to succeed again on the biggest stage.

The next few weeks will certainly prove challenging, but do not be shocked if Spieth is back on top at another major in 2016. A man of his talent, temperament and class will surely bounce back.