On July 27, 1993, Jordan Spieth was born.
20 years, 8 months and 17 days later, he’ll have the chance to win The Masters today after finishing Saturday in a tie for the lead with 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson at 5-under par.
In doing so, he would write Tiger Woods out of the Masters’ record books as the youngest winner in tournament history, and he would become the first green jacket winner that couldn’t legally buy a $3 beer on the course.
“I’m 20 and this is the Masters, and this is a tournament I’ve always dreamt about and, like Mr. (Ben) Crenshaw always says, it brings out more emotion than ever,” Spieth said Saturday after his round of 70.
“Mr. Crenshaw” was not said by accident. He calls everyone – well, everyone older than him, which is about everyone - Mr. (your name here). When asked what he would call 35-year-old Bubba Watson Sunday, the 20-year-old didn’t miss a beat. “Mr. Watson, for sure,”
Spieth grinned. “Just because it will mess with him.”
Spieth can’t really win this, right? 20-year-olds are supposed to wear sports coats to fraternity parties, not slip on Augusta green jackets.
And winners at Augusta National are supposed to pay their dues, fighting through the trials before overcoming them, learning how to play the course year-after-year-after-year before finally breaking through, or so we’re told.
Fuzzy Zoeller is the last player to win the Masters in his first appearance, and that was 35 years ago. Needless to say, Spieth doesn’t have memories of that occasion. His Masters memories, predictably, are of the more recent variety.
“You draw on memories of guys that have made the putts on the last hole; from Phil to Tiger to last year with Adam on 18 and then on 10,” Spieth said. “You just dream of what it would mean and how cool it would be.”
He passed one big test Saturday. Playing with 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, Spieth looked like the experienced major winner, avoiding mishaps and picking his spots in besting the reigning champ by six strokes.
“I’ve never picked so many targets in the middle of the greens in my life,” Spieth said. “So I have a lot of respect for this golf course…You just have to accept par and accept the fact that you’re going to have some wicked fast putts and you’ve got to be really on your game on speed control…It’s almost like you’re putting on rolling gravel.”
To win today, he’ll have to best another recent Masters champion and hold off 11 other players within four shots of the lead. Is the kid ready?
“All those putts I hit when I was young with my friends and trying to make it to win the Masters,” Spieth remembered to a time not that long ago. “You know, I would love the opportunity to test it (Sunday).”
Vince Johnson is covering The Masters for Morris Multimedia for the sixth year – or the 36th day. You can follow his coverage on Twitter @vincejohnson.