Jordan Spieth is looking to go one better than last year when he tees it up at this year’s Masters.
Last year Spieth, then a rookie, produced an incredible performance to finish tied second, but still believes he could have won it. “I had an opportunity to make a dream come true, and I had it in my hands, and then I was just a little anxious,” he said today. “You can make the excuse that as a first‑timer, 20 years old, that’s likely to happen. But in my mind, I was playing the best through whatever it was – 60 holes, 62 holes – and had an opportunity to continue that the next 10 or 11 holes but didn’t quite close it out.
“So it was very disappointing, because I felt like the golf course was going to play into my hands. Although obviously Bubba has a distance advantage, I felt like the way I was putting and the way I was striking my irons, I could close it out.”
Spieth has gone on to become one of the best players in the world, now ranked No.2 behind Rory McIlroy, and with his victory at this year’s Valspar Championship, he became just the fourth player to win two PGA Tour events before the age of 22.
He believes he is now better equipped to handle the pressure of competing at a major, and admitted to nerves when he played his final round in 2014.
“That was definitely the highest amount of pressure I’ve ever felt,” he said. “That first tee shot, I think I hit it into the ninth fairway. I played pretty much the entire round feeling different than I’ve ever felt on the golf course. I enjoyed it, but at the same time when you’re feeling that kind of pressure, it’s hard to get comfortable.
“The mistake on 9 and the mistake on 12 were both 9‑irons, where I think just the pressure and wanting to see it at the hole so bad instead of just going through the same rhythm, that’s where it got me.”
Spieth believes he can become world No.1, although accepts that McIlroy is still playing at a higher level.
“I’m trying to do my part, I’m not really too focused on what Rory’s doing,” he said. “I know really what I have to do to try and overtake him. It’s going to take a lot of special golf, as well as getting into contention with Rory and testing myself against him to see what I’ve got. I’ve played alongside him many times now, and admired his golf game and his level of play, and I don’t think I’m quite there. I have a chance to get a step closer this week.”