As hard as it is to get to No1 in the world rankings, it’s even more difficult to stay there, and that’s something that Jordan Spieth appears to be learning first-hand at the moment.
The prolific 22-year-old’s difficult spell continued at the weekend when he only just made the cut at the Valspar Championship and went on to finish outside the top 15 for the fourth event in a row.
Some criticism of his performance also appeared to get under Spieth’s skin, with the Texan hitting back at a Twitter user who labelled his display “very average”.
It’s nice to see that Spieth is human, and it’s clear that this is all down to the supreme pressure of becoming No1 at such a young age. Rory McIlroy had a similar wobble a couple of years ago.
Having said that, Spieth’s form is a concern with less than four weeks until he starts his Masters defence. He has not been good lately, and even the best lose an edge if they’re not achieving top 10 finishes.
Picking a winner at Augusta this year looks a really tall order. The field is wide open with any one of eight or so players looking to be very realistic candidates for the coveted Green Jacket.
Former winners Adam Scott, who has landed back-to-back events, Bubba Watson, playing as well as anyone now, and Charl Schwartzel all have strong claims, along with usual suspects Spieth, McIlroy and Jason Day.
Schwartzel, who birdied the last four holes to pip Scott five years ago, is a great player and is in superb form: his win at the Valspar Championship was his third from the last six outings.
The South African produced another strong finish on Sunday, coming from four behind Bill Haas with six to play to force a play-off and then beat the American at the first extra hole.
Credit also has to go to amateur Lee McCoy, 22, who played alongside Spieth and whose 69 earned him fourth place at Innisbrook, while another underdog was also shining on the other side of the world, where world No798 Piya Swangarunporn defied his lowly ranking to finish second in the Thailand Classic after a course record final round of 63.
Scott Hend just did enough to beat the home-grown rookie by one shot and become the fifth Australian to win on the European Tour already this season, a phenomenal statistic and one also helped by the in-form Scott.