One year ago, Jordan Spieth authored an all-time performance at Augusta National, leading wire-to-wire and shooting a record-tying 270 (-18) to win his first major at 21. One year later, Spieth remains on the short list of favorites to win the Masters.
Kyle Porter just doesn’t think he will.
“Well, it’s just tough to repeat,” the CBSSports.com golf writer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I don’t think he’s going to miss the cut or anything like that. If you look at the last nine guys that have tried to successfully defend their Masters win, none of them have finished in the top 10. The last guy to do that was Tiger back in 2006, when he was defending 2005. It’s just hard to do. You got a lot of responsibilities as the Masters champion. You’re hosting the Champions Dinner, you’ve got interviews – you’ve just got a lot going on. He’s had a lot going on all year, so you’re thinking about everything but the golf and it’s just a really difficult to do. I will say if somebody can do it, though, I think it’s him. His mental game is clearly kind of the best thing that he does. It’s the best part of his make-up. It’s just kind of my feeling going into this week that he’s not going to be as sharp as he was last year.”
Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, is one Masters win away from completing the career Grand Slam at age 26.
“Rory is interesting,” Porter said. “He’s coming in under the radar. After last year, everybody’s talking about the career Grand Slam and all this stuff. And now this year, it’s all about can Jason Day do it, can Spieth repeat, can Phil (Mickelson) get his fourth – all that stuff. For him, it’s about getting through the first 27 holes without having a nine-hole score over 40. Each of the last five years, he’s had one nine-hole stretch in which he’s kind of had a blow-up 40, 41, 42. If he can not do that and get to the weekend at six-under par, seven-under par, I really like him to bring it home and compete the Slam.”
Day, by the way, finished runner-up at the Masters in 2011, while Mickelson won in 2004, 2006 and 2010.
“I like Phil just because of his course knowledge and his career here,” Porter said. “He’s had such an unbelievable career. He knows every inch of that place. If it gets windy and dries out the greens, I really like Phil’s chances.”
Four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods, meanwhile, will miss the event for the second time in three years due to injury.
“It does feel like there’s an acceptance from the super Tiger fans that, ‘Hey it’s not really coming back,’” Porter said. “He’s 40. It doesn’t really happen in your 40s. You might win one more at some point, but . . . I think there’s some acceptance (that it won’t happen).”