I am spent. I don't know how Jordan Spieth is still standing. All I did this week was watch incredible golf and a 21-year-old take over the sport for one special four-day stretch in north Georgia. Spieth actually, you know, lived it out.
This was my third (and favorite) Masters tournament to cover. The Kid joins Rory McIlroy atop the sport and I have many, many thoughts.
1. An all-time performance from Jordan Spieth
It will be interesting to see when the data rolls in on normalized Masters performances, where this one ranks. But man, to watch it was something special.
I deemed the tournament over on Friday when Spieth birdied No. 15 to go up 1,000 on everybody, but I didn't feel totally confident until he went for the green in two on 13 on Sunday.
Jordan Spieth, on 13: "The two biggest shots I ever hit in my life, coming off a three-putt."— Mike O'Malley (@GD_MikeO) April 13, 2015
The entire thing, from start to finish, was like what I imagine it was like to sit and watch Michaelangelo sculpt the Statue of David.
It really was that good. His hiccups were short-lived and not important. The rest of the field never had a chance after he opened 64-66. The takeover of American golf is complete.
2. Spieth's nines were surreal
Here they are
Thursday first nine: 32
Thursday second nine: 32
Friday first nine: 33
Friday second nine: 33
Saturday first nine: 35
Saturday second nine: 35
Sunday first nine: 35
Sunday second nine: 35
He fell a stroke short of the scoring record, but that is just something special.
Your thoughts, Jordan?
3. Rory McIlroy won the last 45 holes
Speaking of consistency over nine-hole stretches, that's what Mr. McIlroy has to figure out if he ever wants to wear that green jacket thing young Jordan sported on Sunday evening.
If you look at the leaderboard after McIlroy's 40 going out on Friday, he was dominant.
Final 45 hole leaderboard: -15 McIlroy -12 Mickelson -12 Z.Johnson -10 Rose -10 Matsuyama -10 Mahan -9 Poulter -8 Fowler -7 Spieth— Jamie Kennedy (@jamierkennedy) April 12, 2015
The Ulsterman tied Hideki Matsuyama (more on him in a minute) for low Sunday round and completed his lowest finish ever at the Masters (fourth). His 12 under would have won or gone to a playoff in all but 11 Masters tournaments.
Unfortunately for him, one of those happened this week at Augusta. Still, in the last three majors, he's beaten 403 of 406 competitors (99.3 percent).
Is that good?
4. Tiger Woods' week was nothing but encouraging
Say what you want about the Big Cat (and holy crap, I've read the comments sections, I know you will!) he was enormous this week at Augusta.
Sure, it's just the fifth time he hasn't finished in the top 10 since winning back in 1997. But his scores (nothing above 73) and the fact that he apparently performed in-tournament surgery on his own hand, have to be a harbinger for the future.
Just wait, he's going to win St. Andrews, die on the 18th green and bring himself back to life for the Claret Jug presentation!
5. I feel bad ("feel bad") for Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson
I don't feel that bad given that they shared $2 million for finishing second, but man. Those 14-under scores would have ended in a playoff in 73 (!) of the 79 Masters tournaments that have ever been played.
They were both lights out on the weekend, too. I half expected Rose to change into his Ryder Cup uniform in one of the Augusta restrooms after opening birdie-birdie on Sunday and Mickelson to turn around and start throwing little rubber thumbs at him from the third green.
But hey, at least we got an all-time jig out of Rose and more magic out of Mickelson (see below).
6. The first three days were better than the fourth
This isn't meant to be a buzzkill, but this is our third straight "meh" second nine at the Masters. Saturday got drunk quickly but Spieth was so far out in front it didn't really matter.
The Swooshtastic McIlroy-Woods duo couldn't find fire early on Sunday and it looked to be up to Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson to take on Spieth. They couldn't.
Though it wasnt a done deal until the last few holes, it still wasn't anything close to supreme when it comes to drama. I'm fine with that, the rest of the week was more than adequate.
It does mean that when 2016 rolls around, we're way overdue for a Sunday second nine jewel.
7. Phil Mickelson is (still) fun as hell
I thought Lefty, when he stood on the 10th tee, was going to send Bones throughout the entire second nine to pull every flagstick.
I thought Bones might run down Magnolia Lane with all nine flagsticks while the tournament was still going on.
Mickelson is never ever out of it (in his own mind) which, as a fan, is just the greatest. He knew, though. Everybody did.
Phil: "The fact is, I would've taken 14 under at the start of the week. ... I simply got outplayed."— Mike O'Malley (@GD_MikeO) April 12, 2015
This was Mickelson's second-straight runner-up at a major dating back to the 2014 PGA Championship.
Phil eagles from the bunker on 15. pic.twitter.com/yoZam12M2e— Adam Sarson (@Adam_Sarson) April 12, 2015
8. Jack Nicklaus is still immense
Big Jack owned the first half of the week. First, he made an ace in the Par 3 Contest. Then Charley Hoffman touched him (ok, got his autograph) and went out to snag the clubhouse lead (until Kid King rightfully took it back).
He hasn't played a real round here in nearly two decades and he still matters more than half the field every year.
9. Hideki Matsuyama sneaked into the top 10
Nobody loves Hideki Matsuyama like Golf Twitter loves Hideki Matsuyama. I'm treasurer, Sean Martin of PGATour.com is president, Shane Bacon of Fox Sports is vice president and Adam Sarson of The Score is chairman of the board.
The sweet-swinging kid from Japan dropped a nasty 66 at the end on Sunday and slipped into the top 10 nearly unnoticed. He was one of only five golfers under par all four rounds.
His major is coming...soon.
10. What a dang Masters
A 21-year-old went wire-to-wire. Phil Mickelson cited studies about the NFL in regards to his Masters wardrobe. Tiger Woods threw haymakers (literally). Rory McIlroy closed in 69-66. Dustin Johnson made three eagles in a round. Ian Poulter (!) had a backdoor top 10. Paul Casey flexed his guns. Sergio Garcia (probably) tweeted during one of his rounds. The eagle record was absolutely blasted.
And oh yeah, Jordan Spieth is coming for Rory McIlroy.
The Kid is moving to No. 2 in the world and within striking distance of the muscular one from Northern Ireland. I'm so psyched I might live blog the RBC Heritage Monday qualifying rounds!
But really, I could not have had a better time following, watching, thinking about, reading about and enjoying this Masters with the rest of you.
Until next year (when Spieth slips the jacket onto Rory McIlroy).