AUGUSTA, Ga. - The same Augusta National fans who were so fired up to see Jordan Spieth win his first Masters in 2015 literally turned their backs on the golden boy Thursday afternoon.
While Spieth was making a mess of the par-3 sixth hole en route to a double-bogey 5, Tiger Woods was lining up a 20-foot birdie putt for the outright lead at the amphitheater-style 16
Spieth was just a few yards behind Woods, reduced to an afterthought as everyone stood on their tip-toes trying to catch a glimpse of the man who won his first green jacket when Spieth was just four years old.
And while the 25-year-old Texan continues to search for his game, he shot 3-over 75 and was surpassed by nearly every big name in the field Thursday. It matches Spieth's highest opening round in six Masters starts and places him in danger of missing the cut at an event where his worst prior finish is T-11.
Spieth's second-nine rally kept the weekend within reach and he missed a few putts by the narrowest of margins over the last few holes. It didn't change the fact that he needs to step it up in a hurry Friday morning in order to stick around for the weekend.
He enters Friday's second round nine shots behind co-leaders Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, who was in total command as playing partners Spieth and Paul Casey struggled.
So, too, did World No. 1
Rose is now in danger of missing the cut at the Masters for the first time in his career, with five top-10 finishes in 13 career starts.
Spieth's performance wasn't all that surprising given his year-long struggle, but his ridiculous record at Augusta - 3, T-11, T-2, 1, T-2 in five career starts - provided hope that this would be the week to turn it around.
He still looks to be fighting the swing off the tee, his pre-shot routine a series of random shrugs and constant body movement before it's time to pull the trigger. He has been admirably open about the process and insistent he's still in a good place. He also has not finished inside the top-5 at any event since the 2018 Masters and would need a miraculous turnaround in order to pull it off this week at a course where his success has always seemed predetermined.
So far this week he isn't giving the Augusta National faithful much reason to watch.
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