Jordan Spieth credits his brilliant Australian Open triumph as possibly the most important of his career because it taught him how to win.
At age 21, Spieth will go into this week’s Masters as one of the favourites on the back of some brilliant form.
But he says it was his final round to win the Australian Open at The Australian on November 30, that provided his most valuable lesson.
On that day he left the likes of world No.1 Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott in awe when he shot a flawless, course record eight-under-par 63 in difficult conditions to win by six shots.
Last year, Spieth went close to becoming the first rookie to win the Masters on debut since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 when he led by two through seven holes on the last day only to stumble and finish tied second behind winner Bubba Watson.
That was one of eight top-10 finishes in 2014 without a win, giving credence to an apparent problem closing out events before he crushed the field in Sydney.
“I was trying to get off to too fast a start and not realising how a final round in contention can almost feel like two rounds and you have to maintain the same patience the whole way,” Spieth said.
That changed at The Australian Open.
“The Australian Open may have been the most important tournament that I’ve ever played in because at the time, it had been maybe a year and a half since winning the John Deere (Classic) where I kind of squeaked in,” said Spieth.
“Going there to an elite field, with the world No.1 player and local favourite Adam (Scott) and with a venue like The Australian, to put myself in position and have a level of patience that I had not had when I was in contention prior to that was important.
“It was a huge, huge boost for me and it allowed me to close the tournament, close it the right way and feel comfortable with the lead when I had it the next week and since then.”
The youngster flew home from Australia and blitzed the small field at the Hero World Challenge in Florida the next week and he’s continued his blistering form in 2015.
He claimed victory in Tampa in mid-March and has back-to-back runner-up finishes in Texas since to go with a further three top-10s in his eight starts.