Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

In RBC Heritage playoff, Jordan Spieth Experience provides another brutal close call

The roller-coaster Jordan Spieth Experience was in full force Sunday at the RBC Heritage — adding to his recent series of near-misses.

Spieth, the defending champion at Harbour Town, had a two-stroke advantage over Matt Fitzpatrick with five holes left to play. The Englishman, though, birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to tie Spieth at 17 under, and the two would eventually need extra holes to crown a champion.

Spieth nearly claimed the tartan jacket — twice. On the first playoff hole (the par-4 18th), the three-time major winner’s 12-foot birdie putt scathed the right edge and spun out. Then, the two went to the par-3 17th for another crack at the victory, where Spieth’s 9-footer for birdie burned the cup’s right side.

On the third go-around, Fitzpatrick seized the win by knocking his approach from 187 yards to tap-in range. Spieth had a 26-foot birdie attempt, which he didn’t convert.

“I don’t know how the one on the first playoff hole didn’t go in,” Spieth said afterward. “I think if I hit the same putt 10 times, it goes in eight times. It should go left at the very end there on the grain. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

Even Fitzpatrick thought he’d be leaving Hilton Head Island with Spieth slipping on the plaid coat.

“In the playoff, I felt every putt [Spieth] hit was going to go in,” he said.

The RBC Heritage, though, kept a common theme going for Spieth in the last two months — fumbling a victory late.

Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the 29-year-old dazzled on the front nine and took the outright lead with a birdie on No. 13. However, he then missed four consecutive putts inside 8 feet — three of them for par — and placed T-4 with a final-round 2-under 70.

“I wouldn’t have hit any of the putts differently,” he said afterward. “I hit my line on every single one of ‘em. I misread all four by just barely. ... So I’m pleased to be back in the thick of things. I haven’t really had a real lead on Sunday late in quite awhile.”

Jordan Spieth has surged into contention in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

But it would only be another two weeks before the former Texas Longhorn was back in that position.

Spieth was tied with three holes left at the Valspar Championship, before sending his tee shot into the water. He was able to salvage bogey and then hit his tee shot on the par-3 17th to 6 feet, but missed his birdie attempt, sucking the air out of his victory hopes.

“I just said, ‘Screw it (on No. 16),’” Spieth said following his T-3 at Innisbrook. “I’m trusting it and I didn’t try and like play away from it. I said, ‘Lean into it,’ and didn’t pull it off. I’m better mis-executing than playing scared. All in all, if I played scared, I probably would have made bogey and tied the hole anyway.”

At the Masters, Spieth placed T-4, his fourth top-10 since February. The 2015 green jacket winner carded nine birdies during a Sunday 66, but a third-round 76 would be too much to overcome and Spieth finished five strokes behind Jon Rahm.

“I came in mentally fatigued, and you overwork this week every year,” Spieth said Sunday at Augusta National. “I played way too much golf in the last, I mean, this is eight out of 10 weeks.”

But for one more week, he channeled up enough stamina to almost successfully defend a PGA Tour title for the first time in his illustrious career.

However, the Jordan Spieth Experience would again provide a familiar tale — and per usual, he had no regrets, as he was in a prime position to snatch his 14th Tour victory.

“I don’t think I would have done anything differently,” Spieth said.