ST ANDREWS, Scotland: Jordan Spieth blamed “mental mistakes” at the eighth, 17th and 18th for wrecking his dreams of winning three majors in a row in the British Open at St Andrews on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
Those rare moments of weakness from the usually steely 21-year-old Texan cost him three strokes and the chance of either winning the tournament outright, or at least getting into a playoff eventually won by fellow American Zach Johnson.
“Today was a really tough day,” he said.
“Just made a mental mistake on number eight and it seemed to have cost me as well as on 18, just not giving myself a chance.
“Who would have thought a drive on 18 was going to be what really hurt me at the end there.
“It’s kind of hard to not hit a good one on that hole. I just wish I had given myself a little better opportunity.”
Spieth had started the day just one shot off the leading trio and in ideal position to pull off the greatest feat in golfing since 1953 when Ben Hogan won the Masters, and US and British Opens.
Even Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods failed, in their primes to do that – each falling at The Open stage.
He bagged his share of birdies and was well in the hunt until a double bogey at the par three eighth looked to have punctured his hopes.
But he battled back again and looked set for at least a playoff spot until a wayward approach to the notorious 17th Road Hole cost him a shot and then hit a poor tee shot at the last and failed to get the birdie he needed.
His target for an outright win at the start of the day, he said, had been a four-under 68 and he signed for a 69, which would have been enough to get him into a playoff.
“I did not expect three guys to get to 15-under today in those conditions. I did not see that happening. That was some phenomenal golf by everyone,” he said.
But there were no regrets he said and it was just a case of refocusing himself for the year’s final major – the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin next month.
“I don’t know how many guys have done three majors in a year,” he said. “I’m sure there’s only been a few. I know Tiger has done it, and I’m sure Jack has.
“So that would be the next goal as far as the history goes. Sights set on the PGA Championship, and from here I’ve got a couple weeks off now, and I’m going to go home and reflect.
“It won’t hurt too bad. It’s not like I really lost it on the last hole, and 17 was brutally challenging. I just didn’t hit a great putt there, and I just picked the wrong wedge out of the bag on 18.
“I have made a lot of the right decisions down the stretch and certainly closed plenty of tournaments out, and this just wasn’t one of those.
“It’s hard to do that every single time. I won’t beat myself up too bad because I do understand that.”