Jordan Spieth carries himself with the maturity of an elder statesman, the class of a gentleman and the grace of the warmest, kindest 21-year-old in professional golf.
And now the unflappable Texan holds his first major title by winning the 79th Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.
None of the chasers, including three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson and 2013 U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, really put any heat on Spieth in the final round Sunday. Who knows, if they had maybe it would not have mattered anyway.
Spieth finished with a 2-under-par 70 to close out a four-stroke victory over those former major champions, becoming the second-youngest champion in Masters history behind Tiger Woods.
His 18-under 270 total tied Woods’ tournament scoring record set in 1997.
Spieth accomplished this triumph the hard way, becoming just the fifth wire-to-wire champion — and first in 39 years, not since Raymond Floyd won the 1976 tournament.
To what he accomplished — his first major title and moving up to No. 2 in the official world golf rankings behind Northern Ireland star Rory McIlroy — Spieth declared Sunday “arguably the greatest day of my life.”
But he had to sweat it out just a little bit.
After sleeping comfortably with the lead for the first few days, Spieth admitted he was up at 7 a.m. Sunday with nothing to do.
“I was wide awake,” he said.
Extremely family oriented, and with 71/2 hours to go before his final-round tee time, Spieth relaxed with his father, Shawn, and mother, Chris. He exchanged text messages with caddie Michael Greller, the former schoolteacher from University Place.
Sometime that morning he received a text message from Ben Crenshaw, the two-time Masters champion who played in his final tournament at Augusta National this week.
It read: “Stay patient, this is going to be yours …”
Spieth birdied the first hole on an uphill putt. Two holes later, he laid well back of the short par 4, but flushed his wedge approach and made a 15-footer to get to 18-under for the tournament.
But even after making bogeys at the fifth and seventh holes, Spieth had a familiar voice — Greller — and slogan spinning in his head.
“A couple times when I got a little frustrated today, I was pinched by Michael. He said, ‘All right, we still got this thing,’” Spieth said,
“(Greller) likes to say, ‘We’ve got pocket aces, we are already ahead (so) we just have to play it out the way we know how to play it out.’
“Michael beats me at poker a lot, by the way, so I just trust him.”
Added Greller: “The whole day was just lots of positive reinforcement. It was nothing major.”
Even in the split second Spieth might have looked vulnerable, Mickelson could not get on a birdie-making run to close the gap. And Rose started going the other way, missing his share of short par-saving putts late in the front nine.
“I played a solid round; I needed to play an exceptional round,” Mickelson said. “I simply got outplayed by a young player who just played some incredible golf.”
Rallying with three birdies in a row at the 13th, 14th and 15th holes, Rose had one final chance to make Spieth nervous at No. 16.
With Spieth well over the par-3 green facing a delicate chip shot, Rose had a reasonable 15-foot bid for birdie.
Spieth chipped eight feet past the hole, Rose missed his birdie putt — and the feisty Dallas product curled in the par saver to maintain his four-shot advantage.
“Jordan didn’t really open the door. And I didn’t expect him to,” Rose said. “He’s going to sort of fly the flag, I think, for golf for quite a while.”
As soon as Spieth tapped in his short bogey putt on the finishing hole, he hunched over in relief. He embraced Greller twice, then found his parents and lots of friends in the gallery to give them hugs.
Outside the scorer’s office, he excitedly hugged fellow PGA Tour players and other caddies. It was the classic feel-good ending — the right man won the prize.
“He’s hard not to like,” Mickelson said. “It’s hard not to pull for the guy.”
And now Spieth has a bigger goal: be like Bubba Watson.
“I want to win two Masters,” he said.