12 months ago Jordan Spieth went from certain back-to-back green jackets, to throwing the second one into Rae's Creek.

Spieth, the 2015 champion, went into the back nine of last year's Masters with a five shot lead. The headlines were already being written. But what unfolded was some of the biggest drama Augusta National has ever seen.

The seemingly unflappable Spieth recorded bogeys at the 10th and 11th holes before the formidable par three 12th gritted its teeth and effectively ended his tournament.

The American put two balls into the creek just in front of the green on his way to a quadruple bogey. In a matter of moments, he had lost that enormous lead and was, all of a sudden, in a tie for fourth. Just an hour or two later, he showed enormous courage and humility to honour the Masters age-old tradition and present new champion Danny Willett with the green jacket.


Fast forward 12 months and it's a new year. But the nightmares of Spieth's past are unsurprisingly thrown back in his face. And not only his face, with most of his rivals also asked how they think he will overcome the mental challenge to bounce back.

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It's already one of the most challenging par threes in golf. Let alone with a mental black cloud hovering above.

"It will surely be there and it already has been. It happens in golf," Spieth admitted. "I stepped up today and hit it to about that (indicating two feet), which was nice. Obviously it's not the tournament, but I'm excited about the opportunity ahead. I can go back and really tear this golf course up."

"Rather than continuously dwell on the unfortunate events of 2016 I've got many opportunities to go back and really create more great memories on the back nine of Augusta which we've had in the past on Sunday. If it happens this year, fantastic and if it doesn't, then I'll be ready next year to do it."

On that practice round tee shot at the 12th this week to within tapping distance for birdie, Spieth believes it definitely calmed some nerves.

"I turned to the crowd and said I really could've used that one 12 months ago."

Spieth is considered one of the favourites again to be presented the green jacket in Butler's Cabin on Sunday. He's led the tournament after the first round for the past two years. In his famous victory two years ago, he tied the Masters' scoring record with an 18-under par 72-hole total. He appears more than comfortable with almost everything Augusta throws at him.


One of the Masters' most celebrated and certainly most successful players of all time, six-time champion Jack Nicklaus, believes Spieth is so accustomed to the course and his game suits Augusta National so much, that he won't have any issues when he gets to the 12th tee in the opening round tomorrow.

"I think he's forgotten about that. I don't think that's going to be an issue to him," Nicklaus said. "He's a very sharp kid and he's a very good player and one who will put that behind him. He'll learn from it rather than dwell on it."

The same goes for Spieth's peers. World number two Rory McIlroy, who has his own nightmarish memories of Augusta, after unravelling with seven-over par on the back nine in 2011 to throw away a four-shot lead, believes nothing will bother his rival.

"I can assure you, Jordan will be fine. He'll step up on Thursday (US time) on that 12th tee box and he'll just be playing to play the best shot he possibly can," McIlroy stated.

He concedes there may be a thought back to last year for Spieth, but not one of trepidation.

"It's tough to get over. Of course your mind does go back to the previous year when you're thinking what could've been. But you very quickly snap out of it because this golf course and this tournament requires the utmost concentration and you really just have to focus on your job that day and that's trying to to shoot the best score possible."

2011 runner-up Jason Day, who also finished third in 2013, offered some advice to Spieth about how to best get over a disappointment like that.

"You've got to look at it as, okay, what do I need to do next time when I'm in that situation. As long as you look at it as a learning experience, then you'll be able to gain experience and look at it, not as a negative, but to show this is what you need to do. And from there it won't be over your head all the time."

Day said it will sting for a little bit. "But it won't be lingering back there. You're going to fail more than you succeed and if you can always have that constant outlook of I'm learning and trying to get better, then you'll gradually get better and better and better over a long period of time."

So, Jordan Spieth will arrive to the 12th hole in the first round tomorrow for the first time since his 2016 stutter cost him his second green jacket. He's determined to not let it get to him. His peers believe he will have the better of it. Augusta is an unforgiving test of golf and if Spieth can just hit one good tee shot into that shallow green, he'll likely be well on his way towards mounting a challenge yet again.