Perhaps the main reason Jordan Spieth is so beloved is his uncanny ability to be both unrelatable and relatable to the average golfer, often in the same round. What happened on Augusta National’s ninth hole Thursday was very much the latter.
Spieth, who had just reached one-under with a birdie at the par-5 eighth, hit his drive so far right at No.9 that he had to hit a provisional, a rarity at Augusta, where there’s plenty of room to spray it off the tee. He and caddie Michael Greller did end up finding the first tee shot, though they probably wished they hadn’t.
Spieth’s ball rested directly behind a tree, though he had a full swing and a window, albeit a tiny window, back to the fairway. Channelling his inner Seve, Spieth decided to take on that tiny window, and he proceeded to hit a tree about as squarely you could possibly hit one. Listen to this THWACK:
Jordan Spieth's second shot at No. 9 hits off a tree. pic.twitter.com/B5PFuSMaSF
— GOLFonCBS (@GOLFonCBS) April 8, 2021
My goodness. That caught plenty of wood. There might not be a worse sound in golf, other than a huge splash. Usually, for us 10-handicappers, we are scooping and scoring this ball and heading to the next tee. Spieth doesn’t have a similar luxury at the Masters.
So back he went, and once again he and Greller found it. His third was a good one, and it left him with a relatively straightforward up and down to save his bogey. He got the up part right, setting up a six-footer for bogey, but he three-jacked for a disastrous triple-bogey 7, stifling all his Day 1 momentum. He did birdie the 10th to get one back, because the Spieth high wire act never stops.