SOUTHPORT, England – Jordan Spieth is the 2017 British Open Champion. Not a surprising outcome unless you were watching as it all unfolded on Sunday.
The three-stroke lead Spieth carried into the final day was all but gone by the fourth hole on a partly cloudy afternoon at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. The 23-year-old bogeyed the first, third and fourth holes and had suddenly become a sinking ship.
After nine, the two-time major champion had lost the lead and fallen into a tie with his final-round partner, Matt Kuchar. The two remained even until the 13th hole. Then, his wild tee shot on 13 sailed over the gallery and landed him closer to the practice range than the fairway. Jordan buried his face in his hands; this, for sure, was the end. It looked as if we would get a replay of Spieth’s 2016 Master’s collapse, this time across the pond.
But what Jordan did next may define his golf career forever. Staring defeat in the face, the Texas native left 13 with a five-shot bogey, better than anyone could have imagined. With the lead slipping away from him, Spieth took a page out of M.J.’s book and rallied with a series of clutch moments that kept him in the race. After nearly holing-out 14 to once again tie it up, Jordan nailed a 50-foot putt for eagle and a 30-footer for birdie. Just like that, he turned what seemed like a long shot into a reality.
After closing 18 with a par, he’d sign his name next to a one-under 69 for the 2017 British Open title. On a normal day, such feat would be seemingly unimpressive. Today, it was anything but underwhelming.
This victory catapults Jordan to a new level amongst golf greatness as he joins Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to have won three legs of the grand slam before the age of 24. With birthday No. 24 coming this week (Thursday), Spieth also became the youngest American and fifth Texan to raise the Claret Jug.
In a game where athleticism is outweighed by mental warfare, Spieth showed that the two must work hand-in-hand. While Jordan’s perseverance kept a third major trophy in sight, his putter sealed the deal. As if it had never crossed anyone’s mind before Sunday, Spieth solidified his place in golf lore with his historic, yet dramatic, 268 at the 146th Open Championship. The moments that the now three-time major champ shared with his clubs during the last nine holes on Sunday will likely outlast his golf career. He’s definitely made a case as one of golf’s greats; because isn’t the defining moment in an athlete’s career how he or she responds in the most unlikely of scenarios? Despite a professional career that is just four years old, Jordan Spieth will forever be remembered for moments like this on one of the game’s biggest stages.