I wouldn't wish Masters heartbreak on anyone - Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth said he would not wish his Masters experience on anybody.
Having to drape a green jacket he thought was his over the shoulders of Danny Willett was a burden beyond compare for Spieth, who led the Masters by five with nine holes to play yet failed to convert the open goal.
As he prepared to tee off for the first time since his Augusta trauma at the richest tournament in golf, the Players Championship at Sawgrass, Spieth claimed he was over the disappointment and complimented Willett again for his victory.
He also conceded that the 90 minutes after losing what would have been his second Masters crown and third major were comfortably the worst of his career.
“I don’t wish it upon any of y’all,” he said. “I know the feelings that Danny was experiencing. I was obviously very happy for him, and he 100 per cent earned his Masters win.
“It really bugs me when people are trying to take that maybe away from him or shoot it down, and the questions have been asked to him, do you think this will go down as you winning or him losing, and that’s absolute bull, because he won and he earned it.
“I knew the shots he played down the stretch. He heard the roars. I knew the clutch putts that he made.
“But, for me, it was certainly difficult to go through that experience right afterwards, feeling like I had control of it and could have very well put it on myself.
“The hour and a half that followed the finish, I obviously knew that that was going to happen when I was teeing off on 18 tee box, so I had that entire hole to play and the time after to kind of figure out my emotions.
“It was tough, but we went about it the right way, and just like two years ago, when I watched Bubba [Watson] get the jacket on the 18th green, it’s motivation for next year.”
Rory McIlroy, who flew in only yesterday, preparing to practise down the Florida coast at his Palm Beach home, gave Spieth a vote of confidence.
He knows exactly how Spieth feels having imploded himself at the Masters five years ago.
“I was sort of in that scenario in 2011, but I hadn’t won a major,” he said.
“I hadn’t won the Masters at that point. So for me it was, ‘am I ever going to get that opportunity again?’
“The mentality I had after that was, let’s try to get yourself back in that position as quickly as possible and see if you’ve learned from your mistakes. Jordan will be just fine.
“He’s very resilient. I think we’ve all seen that over the last number of years. These things happen. It’s golf.
“The back nine at Augusta can make you do strange things at times, but he’s coming back to a place here where he played well a couple years ago and had a chance to win.
“I think it was smart of him to take those four weeks off and get a few things out of his system then come back fresh for this.”
After a week in the Bahamas and another working on the range to iron out issues with his swing, Spieth displayed the kind of spiky resolve that defines him.
He comes here, he says, with nothing to prove.
“I think I’ve already proven what we’re capable of doing when the pressure is on,” he said. “We’ve succeeded in close matches, close finishes, and we’ve succeeded to stretch leads out and win by four to eight shots against some of the best fields in the world.
“I don’t feel I need to get revenge.”