Day 1 at the 2016 Masters looked an awful lot like Days 1-4 at the 2015 Masters as 22-year-old Jordan Spieth lead the charge at with an opening round 66 and a two stroke lead over the field at 6-under.
After running away with last year’s tournament early, many are now starting to wonder if there’s something about Augusta National that has enabled Spieth to have so much success there.
To help shed some light on Spieth’s Masters dominance Michael Breed, Co-host of the Golf Channel’s Masters coverage this weekend, joined CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones to talk about the young phenom.
“I saw a guy (Spieth) that is incredibly comfortable in an environment where he’s had great success,” Breed said of Spieth’s first day at Augusta. “He’s played here twice, he finished second and first – that’s a pretty good resume, you know? And then you take a guy who’ been No. 1 in the world then he’s not No. 1 in the world, you get a little bit of fire under your butt and all of a sudden you want to do something, you want to go out there and make a statement that I am the best player in the world and this is my place.”
While Spieth thrived and as Breed pointed out had a “bogey-free round,” others, namely Ernie Els, who carded a nine on a Par-3, weren’t as fortunate yesterday.
“Those of us that are golfers and that love the game of golf, what we saw yesterday from Ernie is debilitating, it’s gut-wrenching,” Breed said. “This is a guy who everybody loves and admires. To see what happened to Ernie is awful and what I can tell you is he is a champion and he will figure out how to overcome that situation. But when you’re in the heat of a battle and it’s the first hole of the first day of a major championship – that is an incredibly difficult thing to go through.”
Speaking of adversity at Augusta, two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson ran into some yesterday and somewhat unraveled after missing a 4-foot putt and finished the day 4-over par.
“Bubba Watson is a guy who is an extremely emotional guy and we’ve seen him get into it with his caddie, get into some conversations that are not necessarily the friendliest of conversations on the golf course,” Breed said. “But having said that, you still have to be able to overcome in your mind and there’s not a greater pressure situation than Augusta National. Look at what happened with Ernie Els. Point being, on Sunday afternoon, these players are all going to be tested and are all going to have to overcome things in their mind. And I would say they’re all equipped, but at the same time, we’re all fragile.
The one who is able to control that, and I think Jason Day is certainly a guy who has learned how to do that. Rory McIlroy has learned how to do that. Jordan Spieth – it just seems like he was born with that competitive instinct, yet if you ask him about the 2014 Masters, he felt like he let that one get away and he felt like he let it get away with his inability to control his mind.”