And the winner is… Danny Willet.
Jordan Spieth, the American golf poster boy, walked onto Augusta National golf course with good Sunday memories after cruising to a record setting 4 shot win just a year ago. And indeed, after opening a 5 shot lead on 2nd place Danny Willett after his first 9 holes, it seemed history would repeat itself. But after bogeys on the tough 10th and 11th holes, disaster really struck. Spieth put his tee shot on hole number 12 (par 3) into Rae’s Creek, and then remarkably chunked his next shot from his drop into the water again, which sent the golf world into shock. He finished with a quadruple bogey on the hole. Willett, the Englishman a few groups ahead of Spieth, closed strong, with a 5 under final round that propelled him into first place at -5. His playing partner Lee Westwood briefly flirted with his first major win and was co-leader, but couldn’t keep place with Willett. Spieth handled the nightmare admirably with his typical well-mannered poise. At one point, he told caddy Michael Greller “buddy, it feels like we’re collapsing.” Willett, whose wife gave birth to their first child the week prior, became the first European to win the Masters since 1999. “Words can’t describe the feelings,” said Willett, moments after putting on the famous green jacket. Willett rose to 9th in the world golf rankings after the win. Rory McIlroy was left wanting yet again at Augusta, finishing tied for 10th and saying “I need to improve mentally.” One of the stories of the week was quirky amateur Bryson DeChambeau, the physics student who brings math into the game (all his irons are the same length, for example). DeChambeau awed the Masters crowd over the four days and ended up tied for 21st. The German speaking contingent didn’t fare as well as they may have hoped. Martin Kaymer, who has worked so hard in altering his swing to conquer Augusta, finished with an even par round to end tied 49th at +12. Bernd Wiesberger, the Austrian hope, also closed with an even par round and finish tied 34th at +8. The surprise came in 58 year old Bernhard Langer, who started the final round within striking distance of the lead but crashed and burned with a 79 on Sunday and finished tied 24th at 6 over.