Spieth’s humiliating meltdown at the par-3 12th in Sunday’s final round in 2016 quickly became the stuff of legend and in the 12 months since he has made it clear he’d like to put the quadruple bogey seven he made there, to lose the tournament, to rest.
At his first opportunity in Thursday’s opening round he managed to do just that with a solid swing and two putt par from 34 feet.
But just three holes later the 22-year-old two-time major winner must have felt he had somehow been swept back in time as he unraveled at the par-5 15th with a quadruple bogey nine.
At 1-under for the day and well in the mix at the time, it was a disastrous series of mistakes that dropped Spieth to mid-field by day’s end and with much work to do to catch up.
To his credit, Spieth spoke candidly about what happened after the round where he incidentally went on to birdie his next holes, just as he did after his major mis-step in last year’s final round.
“You think of it as a birdie hole, obviously, being a par 5,” he said by way of explanation.
“And unfortunately I still thought of it as a birdie hole today and it really isn’t when you lay up.
“So I didn’t take my medicine and hit it about 15 feet right with a club that takes the spin off. Instead I was stuck in the 15‑is‑a‑birdie‑hole mentality, and it kind of bit me a little bit.
“I struck the shot well, I just hit the wrong club.”
After spinning his third shot back off the green and into the water with a 58 degree wedge Spieth proceeded to over correct and hit long of the green with his fifth.
From there he chipped past the flag and left his putt for a double bogey seven woefully short, eventually holing out for a nine.
It was a frustrating blow for Spieth having overcome the emotions of the 12th hole less than an hour earlier.
When his tee shot at the famed par-3 found the green this year it elicited an unusually loud roar from the crowd.
“I was a bit surprised at how loud the cheer was when my ball landed 35 feet away from the hole,” he said with a wry smile after the round.
“But I was relieved to see it down and on the green. And I guess maybe everyone else felt more than I did on it.”
While disappointing, Spieth’s eventual round of 3-over 75 wasn’t fatal and he has plenty of time to play his way back into the tournament, especially at a course where he has shown an extraordinary knack for good scoring.
He is yet to finish outside the top two in three trips to Augusta National though knows he can’t afford any more blow up holes if he is to keep that record in tact.
“I’m going to probably need to play something under par tomorrow, which puts a little bit extra added bit of pressure that I wouldn’t have put on tomorrow,” he said.
“Because I was thinking even par for the two days (in tough conditions) was a good score.
“And obviously now, 3-over, I feel like I need to snag something (low) tomorrow."