The best thing Jordan Speith could have done for his psyche was to make another quad-bogey early on in this year’s Masters and live through it. Like a boxer facing an early barrage of punches, he has survived Augusta’s best and is now very much in the fight. His 69 is Round 2 was punctuated with a 15-foot, sliding birdie on 18. Following a quick fist pump, he glanced back at the crowd almost to say, “Fear this.”
He and caddie, Michael Greller, would have probably rather avoided the day one disaster all together but for anyone watching Speith closely, it was a point of focus every time he stepped up to a water-hole. By sending another shot into Rae’s Creek and not imploding it’s almost as if he as changed the subject. Speith is now at even par having reduced a 10-stroke margin off the lead down to only 4.
Speith trails the front of the pack (Hoffman, Garcia, Pieters and Fowler) all at -4 but no longer looks like a golfer with a ghost following him. He looks more like Robert Patrick in Terminator 2, the shape-shifting, liquid-metal monstrosity that is seemingly impossible to kill. He is running everyone down in the rear view mirror, except instead of a police uniform he is wearing Under Armour solid colors and carrying the most deadly putter in all of golf.
Some would say it was arrogant for Speith to claim that he and his team strike fear in the field prior to arriving at the 2017 Masters. The rest of the field has been reluctant to acknowledge that statement but it’s hard to argue. His performance in majors, especially the Masters over the last 4 years has been no less than Woodsian.
Since he emerged on the scene in 2014, we have seen Speith finish second, first and again second over the past three years. He’s played three times at Augusta and has only been beaten by two men (Bubba Watson and Danny Willett). Saturday and Sunday still remain and it’s likely that the leader board will undergo just as many drastic changes as we saw from Day 1 to Day 2. The fact remains, Jordan Speith is on the hunt and he is looking fearless. If he has enough to strike fear in others remains to be seen, but we’ll be watching when he pairs up with fearless Phil Mickelson today… at least from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. when we’re allowed to.