The Short Game: The Greatest Two Hours in Sports

Mike Carlson, Spear Contributor

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When it comes to pressure-filled situations, nothing, not even asking the girl of your dreams to Prom, compares to sports. Though, asking that special gal to Prom is the closest of seconds.

Sports offers championship-clinching field goals, buzzer-beating shots, do-or-die hail mary passes, and walk-off home runs. But, you already knew that. It is why we spend the majority of our time watching sports and none of our time (one can hope, right?) watching “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Nothing on that show is even close to reality programming.

However, amongst the pulverizing conditions of game-winning drives and critical defensive stops lies the final nine holes of the Masters.

And boy, what a cruel pressure cooker this gauntlet of greens can be.

Sure, the Super Bowl is the most-watched television event around the world. But, does it have a final drive spanning more than two hours? No, the Super Bowl barely offers two complete hours of football being played. Between commercials and shark-filled halftime shows, it’s tough to scratch together just one hour. The closing nine holes of the Masters is “The Drive” stretched out over a spring afternoon. Only, subtract the pads and throw in a green jacket for good measure.

In golf, there is also that fickle lady named par (not one I’d recommend as a Prom date) who draws the line between a new high score and game over. At Augusta, you are always one three-putt, four-putt, five-putt away from wishing they sold mulligans on the first tee. Sorry kid, putting on the greens at Augusta is like being a driver on “Ice Road Truckers.” Hang on and don’t forget to bring your nerves of steel.

At Augusta National, one miss hit can mean the game is over. Here, the last thing you want to do is take cover in a bunker and a dip in the water will actually get you hot under the collar of whatever major corporate apparel brand you are wearing. Don’t even get me started on a trip into the trees. You may be better off just not coming back.

Could you imagine if Tom Brady’s first quarter interception against the Seahawks in this year’s Super Bowl meant the end of his day? There would be an uproar in Bean Town.

So, maybe it is only fitting that a man who, a year prior, saw his day collapse on him like a clubhouse-worth of bricks on one hole goes out and wins the whole thing as a wire-to-wire champion. A feat not seen at the hallowed fairways since the clubs were wood and “Tiger-proofing” something had everything to do with zoos.

It had to be Jordan Spieth donning the green jacket at the end of the day, right? I mean it is in the guy’s name for crying out loud (Oh yes, I did look that up). If you translate “Spieth” from German to English, it means “successful” and “speedy.” What he has done this weekend at Augusta is the definition of both.

It’s only sports that the one man who had shattered under one of competition’s most crushing spots and practically made the outhouse his second home a year earlier, now has a green jacket to his name.

That’s the funny thing about pressure, though. It never fails to produce a diamond.

 

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