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Sports

With victory in sight at the Masters, a par makes it clear for Spieth

DW's Gabriel Borrud used to have a running joke with his Yale golf teammates about a fantastical superhero by the name of Par-Man. He could save the day. So can Jordan Spieth, says Borrud.

As far as superheroes go, they save the day, of course.

But in Par-Man's case, it was on the course, and it was about saving nothing other than par. We would envision ways that he could save his most cherished good from the wildest of conceivable situations. From inside this or that pub in St. Andrews, just off the Old Links. From a frozen garbage bin in Alberta while playing a tournament in sunny Melbourne. From within the supervisory board at Harvard… You get the idea.

Jordan Spieth is Par-Man

On the 18th and final hole at Augusta National on Saturday evening, a par of historic proportions was made. A par that would make a superhuman shake. A par that would make even our Par-Man think twice about what he purports to call himself.

Gesichter Deutschlands Autorengalerie Gabriel Borrud

DW's Gabriel Borrud

Historic? Why?

Jordan Spieth, who has spent the last three days more or less showing the golf world that he's better than anyone who has ever played here since the inception of the tournament in the 1930s, made a horrible mistake on the 17th hole. A double bogey. It probably could have been a par. But at least just a bogey.

All he had to do was shake it off and hit his tee shot on the 18th down the middle of the fairway and he'd be fine…

And this is where the historic dimension comes in: Spieth hit a perfect tee shot down the 18th fairway, but he blew his approach to the green way to the right of the bunker into the crowd, just like Greg Norman did in 1986. Norman's blunder came on the last day of the tournament, when he was tied with Jack Nicklaus, but I still do not hesitate to draw the comparison - and by that I mean contrast - to the way Spieth was able to manage the situation.

Tiger Woods Masters in Augusta

Tiger Woods is 10 shots back after shooting a 68

He got it up and down. He flopped his ball over the bunker and made the putt for par, in the face of an expectant world waiting to see if the "youngster" could do it. If he had the nerve. Thirty years ago, Norman didn't.

A very, very good omen

In 1986, Norman could have won the Masters. He didn't, because, he couldn't make par on the 18th.

Now, back in '86, that was the last day of competition. There was only one hole left.

But in Jordan Spieth's case, now in the lead at 16-under 200 after a third round 70, there's a whole round left. Another 18 holes. The par he made on the 18th on Saturday, however, will make those 18 a whole lot easier.

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