Golf Comment: Baby-faced superstar Spieth’s gift is an old head on young shoulders

Sam Torrance
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Jordan Spieth held off Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson to win his first Major title on Sunday night
FOR SOMEONE who looks like they could shave with nothing more than a rough towel, Jordan Spieth showed extraordinary maturity and composure on his way to winning the Masters on Sunday.

His all-round game was excellent, but perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Spieth’s first Major victory was that, at the age of just 21, he led from start to finish at Augusta.

The baby-faced Texan knew exactly what he had to do and got on with it. He was never flustered, and whatever his challengers Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson threw at him, they just couldn’t get near him.

We got a hint of his temperament a week earlier when a photographer snapped away during his backswing on a tee shot at the Houston Open, where he lost to JB Holmes in a three-man play-off.

Plenty of players would have reacted angrily and accused the culprit of costing them the tournament, but Spieth didn’t, preferring to address the person calmly. It was such a cool, classy and impressive move.

His win wasn’t a surprise, in as much as we knew how good he was. This was the fourth consecutive week that he had been in the final Sunday playing group at a tournament. That’s magnificent.

You hear nothing but good things about Spieth from people in golf. He had become a prolific winner in the last six months, and now he has a Major title too. The only shame was that he missed a Masters record low score of 19 under par by bogeying the final hole.

Rory McIlroy is still world No1, and he showed why with the way he finished the tournament, but there will be plenty of pretenders to his throne and of course Spieth is one of them.

He is not the only American hope, with Dustin Johnson impressing lately and Rickie Fowler a great talent, and Tiger Woods has dimmed rather than faded altogether, but Spieth is their young superstar.

McIlroy can have no regrets about the way he approached the Masters. He had a terrible run going into the turn on Friday that put him at risk of missing the cut but ended up fourth on 12 under par. These things happen, but that response was the mark of a great player.

Like his fellow Englishmen Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, Rose had a great week. A scrap with Spieth looked on the cards when he cut the gap to three shots, but the American would just go and sink another birdie. It was a welcome return to form and it was fascinating to hear Rose explain that he hadn’t felt he needed prior momentum because he knew he was a good player. That was a great insight into his mentality.

Mickelson, too, enjoyed some superb moments despite not having a good year.

Tiger remains an enigma. When he was good he was brilliant but he was also dreadful at times. I was sorry to hear he won’t be playing again soon, though, because it was fantastic to see him back.

It was a wonderful Masters, all in all. Credit must go to the organisers for not setting the course up impossibly and therefore making it a really exciting spectacle for us all.

Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam

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