Many of us tuned in to watch the final round of the 78th Masters championship at Augusta National anticipating that we were going to witness the youngest ever player to claim the title at the tender age of 20. Jordan Spieth, spoken of as the greatest young player since Tiger Woods, looked set to make history in the early stages of the final Sunday after he birdied the par-five second to steal an early lead, which was then extended after a bogey from Bubba Watson at the third gave him a 3-shot advantage. However, a bogey at the fifth narrowed the youngster's surge, an early falter of which he failed to completely recover from. Instead, it tuned out to be Bubba Watson's day. Despite Spieth's early form, the American kept his nerve, playing the back nine meticulously and prevailed by three shots, recording a final 69 8-under par to claim his second green jacket.
Watson, who first won the tournament in 2012, proved the importance of experience over innocence. The ninth hole appeared to be the turning point in the round where he assumed a two-shot lead after sinking a 12-foot putt. He then extended his advantage to three shots after a mammoth drive gave him another birdie chance at the par-five 13th. At 15, he then played a miraculous shot, dismissing conventional play as he hit his ball around the bark of a tree, clearing the water effortlessly to land on the green. This coming from a man who has never had a golf lesson in his life!
However, credit cannot be taken away from Spieth who had to settle for joint second at five-under par alongside Sweden's Jonas Blixt. For a 20-year-old to hold a joint lead going into the final round of the Masters is no small achievement. Other players in contention included 50-year-old Jiménez, who shot a 71 to take third place, one ahead of the Americans Matt Kuchar, who shot a 74, and Rickie Fowler, who shot 73.
Despite talking of his high hopes of claiming his first green jacket prior to the tournament, Rory McIlroy did not have the greatest time fluffing his way around Augusta. After a promising start on the first day finishing under par, McIlroy's second round secured his fate as he suffered a series of dropped shots, coming to a crescendo on the 13th where a wayward shot managed to hit a sprinkler head, before ricocheting into a cluster of azaleas. This was a place where he had been before. Back in 2011 after sacrificing a four-shot lead on the final day and finding himself hacking out of a similar position, young and inexperienced, McIlroy crumpled terribly, slumping over his driver failing to hold back the tears. A broken man - he had choked. However, this year, having narrowly made the cut after sinking a make-or-break putt to stay for the weekend, he managed to regroup on Sunday where he showed some promise posting a final round of 69 to finish within the top 10 for the championship. Speaking before the tournament, golf's greatest, Jack Nicklaus, commented that he believed McIlroy's game currently suffered too many "unforced errors", suggesting that the former world number one may not have been his favourite to claim the title this year.
Although it would have been magical to see a young rookie defy history to claim his first green jacket, in the end, it had to be Bubba's day. Not only is his skill set remarkable, but he also manages to consistently pull off surprisingly unconventional shots that others can barely fathom, and you never see him loose his nerve whilst doing so. The left-hander can now join the likes of Woods and Phil Mickelson as a multiple Masters champion, and he will duly rise up the ranks to become the forth best player in the world.