The grass is always greener at Augusta for Jordan Spieth

Spieth plays in his fourth Masters this weekend

BY Daniel Kelly 12:20 Thursday 6 April 2017, 12:20 6 Apr 2017

Picture by: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

Fuzzy Zoeller is last debutant to win The Masters, after starting the final round six shots behind the leader, in 1979.

The Indiana golfer is one of only three players to win the event at the first time of asking. Horton Smith and Gene Sarazen are the only other rookies to win the event. They won the title, in the first and second stagings of the tournament.

While debutants rarely get close to winning that famous green jacket, Jordan Spieth got closer than most, in 2014.

Spieth's form around Augusta National is the stuff of legend. In three appearances at The Masters, he has finished no worse than second place, winning the title in 2015.

After winning the tournament in two years ago, Spieth said missing the chance of being the fourth-ever rookie champions spurred him on. In 2014, he started the final round as joint-leader with Bubba Watson, and led by two shots eight holes into the final round.

"I watched for a lot of years guys finish on 18; I watched it firsthand last year, and watched guys come into this room with the jacket on and always dreamt of doing the same.

"I was already hungry from last year having already had an opportunity and watched it slip away and watched Bubba win and everything that came with Bubba being the Masters Champion, and the announcements of it, going on the shows and whatever, I knew I had a chance to win that tournament." 

Spieth played nine successive rounds at Augusta National, before shooting an over-par round. In 2014 and 2015, he scored seven under-par rounds, with his final round in 2014 being level-par.

His record is unparalleled since making his debut in 2014. At the end of all 12 rounds of the previous three tournaments, Spieth has led solely or had a tie for the lead in eight of those. His other finishes are tied-second, tied-second, tied-third and tied-twelfth.

That T12 finish was in his first ever round at the course. A one-under 71 left him three off the lead. Apart from that opening salvo, he has never finished a round outside the top-three.

Before he won the tournament in 2015, Spieth spoke about "how great the place is, how perfect and how pure the course is." Later that week, when wearing the green jacket, he called Augusta National "my favourite course in the world".

Although he didn't win the event in 2014, despite leading the the final round, Spieth's only negative experience at Augusta National came last year when he quadruple-bogeyed the 12th hole. That aside, expect him to shine this week.

It's a course that suits Spieth's game, and he clearly likes the venue. With Dustin Johnson's back issues, a relatively quiet Spieth has returned to many people's thoughts in the past 24 hours.

Expect him to feature on Sunday night. He wouldn't have it any other way.

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